TEMPE, Ariz. — Saturday’s Arizona State football scrimmage won’t be the sole determining factor in personnel decisions, but with less than three weeks until the Sun Devils open the college football season against Northern Arizona at Sun Devil Stadium, coach Todd Graham said the depth chart is getting a lot clearer after he and his staff got a look at their team outside in the heat.
“This week is going to be big,” Graham said Monday after reviewing Saturday’s film. “We basically come out of the first scrimmage, rep a lot of people and after this first scrimmage we’ll have a 1, a 2 and a 3 and we’ll go from there.”
Running backs Demario Richard, Kalen Ballage and receiver Tim White were among those who did not participate in Saturday’s scrimmage. Their absence (and others) afforded Graham and his coaching staff the chance to see a lot of players who are vying for significant roles.
Among the players that stood out to Graham were defensive backs J’Marcus Rhodes, Marcus Ball and Kareem Orr (expected to start at cornerback), along with linemen Renell Wren, Jalen Bates, George Lea, linebacker D.J. Calhoun and true freshman receiver Kyle Williams, who Graham said came into the program “very prepared, was in shape and ready to go. He’s got a shot.”
SECONDARY TAKING SHAPE
There’s been a lot of discussion about the youth at quarterback and the four new starters along the offensive line, but ASU’s other major area of concern was the revamped secondary. New defensive backs coach T.J. Rushing says he is pleased with what he has seen.
“We’re very deep,” Rushing said Monday. “We have a competitive room and it’s going to be interesting to see who are the top four or five guys that get on the grass.”
The Sun Devils lost cornerbacks Lloyd Carrington, Kweishi Brown and safety Jordan Simone to graduation, but with Laiu Moeakiola moving to bandit safety, Armand Perry healthy again at the other safety spot, and sophomore cornerback Kareem Orr looking to build on an ASU freshman record six interceptions last season, Rushing’s words may be more than offseason hyperbole.
“There’s still work to be done and I’m a coach so I’m never really happy,” Rushing said. “But it’s a smart group; a flexible group that can do it all. They’re going to be solid.”
— Junior college transfer offensive lineman A.J. McCollum has been cleared for contact after missing two weeks with an unspecified injury Ballage, linebacker Salamo Fiso and wide receivers Jalen Harvey and Tim White are wearing green non-contact jerseys.