Pac-12 Network’s Rick Neuheisel: ASU going to be tough to stop

Aug 15, 2013, 4:58 PM | Updated: 4:58 pm

CAMP TONTOZONA — As a former quarterback, Rick Neuheisel can see what others cannot.

“I think he’s the forgotten one,” he said referring to Arizona State junior Taylor Kelly. “It’s only those who don’t do it all the time that forget him.”

Neuheisel is the lead college football analyst on the Pac-12 Networks, which is visiting every school during fall camp. It was ASU’s turn Wednesday.

Neuheisel, after spending some time with head coach Todd Graham, paced the sideline, paying particular attention to Kelly and the quarterbacks.

“I expect (Kelly) to have a great year, if he can just keep from getting hurt in walk-throughs,” Neuheisel quipped.

Kelly, three days removed from taking an inadvertent elbow to the forehead during a handoff drill, was full-go, taking part in both individual and team drills. He provided the highlight of the day: A 47-yard touchdown pass to sophomore receiver Richard Smith.

“Rick is the most improved guy on offense,” Graham said. “He’s going to be a dynamic receiver; home run shot today. If you’ve been around here for the last year-and-a-half, you ain’t seen a lot of those. That’s encouraging. I like that ball getting thrown deep down there like that.”

Coaches are high on Smith, who caught 14 passes a year ago. Thus far in camp, he’s seen first-team reps lining up next to newcomers Ellis Jefferson and Jaelen Strong.

“If Jaelen Strong turns out to be what I think he can be, I think they’re going to be tough to stop,” said Neuheisel, who believes ASU beats Wisconsin on September 14.

The offense received an added attraction when freshman linebacker Chans Cox, Graham’s biggest 2013 in-state recruit out of Lakeside Blue Ridge High School, practiced at tight end.

“The coaches just wanted me going over there just a few times to get some reps in, so if they ever need me to switch over, I can go over there and do that,” Cox said. “I just want to be out playing on the field. Whatever is best for the team is what I’ll do. I like both sides of the ball, so just whatever the coaches want.”

Graham, however, indicated it was a one-day only experiment.

“He might play a few plays over there, on some special packages and that’s it,” he said. “Right now, he’s still playing defense.”

Neuheisel, meanwhile, like many is expecting ASU to contend for the Pac-12 South title.

“First of all, you work to gain expectations, so you can’t look at them as a negative,” he said. “Now, it’s just a call to arms — and certainly (Graham) has the attention of the team; a call to arms of the leadership saying, ‘okay, are we going to man up and meet them? We’ve worked to earn them, now what are we going to do about it? Is that enough or are we actually going to fulfill the dream?’ And that to me is where they are right now.”

Arizona State Football

Kamari Lands, latest Sun Devil to enter transfer portal following 2023-24 season....

Bailey Leasure

Kamari Lands marks latest Sun Devil to enter transfer portal

Sophomore Kamari Lands, latest Sun Devil to enter transfer portal as ASU continues rebuild headed into 2024-25 season.

1 day ago

SAN ANTONIO, TX - MARCH 19: San Antonio Brahmas head coach Hines Ward argues with officials during ...

Arizona Sports

Hines Ward to become ASU’s wide receivers coach

Former NFL wide receiver Hines Ward has agreed to join Kenny Dillingham's staff and become Arizona State’s next wide receivers coach.

5 days ago

Arizona State head football coach Kenny Dillingham in studio...

Damon Allred

Arizona State football adds 2025 3-star defensive back Xavier Skowron

Arizona State's 2025 recruiting class got a little bit bigger on Thursday with the addition of three-star defensive back Xavier Skowron.

6 days ago

Mug shot of former Arizona State pass rusher and seven-time NFL Pro Bowler Terrell Suggs....

Arizona Sports

Former Arizona State, NFL star Terrell Suggs arrested for disorderly conduct, intimidating

Former Arizona State and Baltimore Ravens star Terrell Suggs was arrested on two charges, according to the Maricopa County Sheriff.

8 days ago

Quarterback Jaden Rashada #5 of the Arizona State Sun Devils throws a pass during the first half of...

Vincent DeAngelis

Jaden Rashada ramping up from thumb injury as ASU spring ball continues

ASU quarterback Jaden Rashada returned and took individual reps under center on Tuesday. He's expected to ramp up slowly.

9 days ago

Running backs coach Ra'Shaad Samples...

David Veenstra

Oregon reportedly hires Arizona State football assistant coach Ra’Shaad Samples

The University of Oregon will reportedly hire Arizona State football assistant Ra’Shaad Samples as its running backs and assistant head coach.

11 days ago

Pac-12 Network’s Rick Neuheisel: ASU going to be tough to stop