ASU’s Graham: Big runs have ‘been our nemesis’

Oct 1, 2013, 12:44 AM | Updated: 12:44 am

While Arizona State is in as good a position as it could have hoped for through the first three games of a brutal four-game stretch, its run defense has given head coach Todd Graham cause for concern.

The No. 22 Sun Devils (3-1, 1-1 Pac-12) have allowed more than 200 rushing yards in each of their last three games, and have allowed runs of 80, 32 and 58 yards against Wisconsin, Stanford and Southern California.

“Obviously we’re not doing very well,” Graham said.

That’s something that will likely need to be corrected if ASU wants to knock off Notre Dame in Dallas on Saturday. The Fighting Irish average 134 rushing yards per game, and use their ground attack to open things up for their 28th-ranked passing offense.

Graham said defensive alignment has been a cause for many of the gashing runs, adding that ASU was misaligned on 15 plays during its 62-41 win over USC.

“We’re just a guy too short in some spots,” Graham said. “It does warrant some adjustments to what we’re doing. When I see that many alignment things … we’ve done too much (schematically). If you’re looking at something A through Z, we’re operating on T when we should be focusing on G.”

Despite Arizona State’s issues in the run game, its interior defense has been stout. Between Will Sutton, Carl Bradford, Chris Young and Osahon Irabor, the Sun Devils’ boundary-side defense hasn’t been a problem area, and Graham singled those four out as “playing at a high level against the run.”

But the Sun Devils have been burned to the field side — the direction opposite whichever hash mark the ball is spotted on — where it’s easier to get ball carriers in open spaces and exploit individual matchups.

“The big-play run has been our nemesis,” Graham said. “I’m encouraged because we’re just one or two people getting it right from being good. Most of it we can definitely fix.”


Comment guidelines: No name-calling, personal attacks, profanity, or insults. Please keep the conversation civil and help us moderate comments by reporting abuse.
comments powered by Disqus

Arizona State Football

Place kicker Ian Hershey #10 of the Idaho State Bengals gets a nearly mishandled punt off against t...

Arizona Sports

ASU football lands former Idaho State kicker, punter Ian Hershey

Place kicker Ian Hershey announced his commitment to Arizona State football after transferring from Idaho State.

1 day ago

Larry Fitzgerald, Pittsburgh Panthers, college football...

Arizona Sports

Larry Fitzgerald, 3 ASU players on 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot

Former Arizona Cardinals great Larry Fitzgerald and three Arizona State Sun Devils are on the 2024 College Football Hall of Fame ballot.

1 day ago

Follow @AZSports...

Arizona Sports

ASU’s Dillingham: QB Jaden Rashada ‘addicted to trying to be better’

The beginning of the Kenny Dillingham era in Tempe comes with an unknown at quarterback but also a few interesting options.

6 days ago

Kenny Dillingham, ASU football head coach...

Arizona Sports

2023 ASU football schedule includes FS1 appointments in nonconference

The Arizona State Sun Devils will begin the Kenny Dillingham era with a favorable schedule of four home games in a row.

6 days ago

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)...

Tom Kuebel

ASU receives commitment from 2024 prospect Albert Smith III

Arizona State football added a commitment from EDGE rusher Albert Smith III for its 2024 recruiting class, Smith announced on Twitter Sunday.

16 days ago

Offensive lineman Isaia Glass #73 of the Arizona State Sun Devils looks on from the sideline in the...

Wills Rice

The Draft Network: Pair of ASU offensive linemen impress at summer camp

Two Sun Devils competed in the second annual BRUTE OLine Development Camp in Minnesota this week and impressed scouts.

17 days ago

ASU’s Graham: Big runs have ‘been our nemesis’