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Quotes: Todd Graham Weekly Press Conference
Courtesy: Sun Devil Athletics
Release: 09/02/2013
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Sept. 2 - Sacramento State

On Game Week:

“Well I think they are ready to play. I don’t think I have ever had a bye week in the first week. I think it has been a positive for us because we have a lot of newcomers and injuries. But our guys are ready to play.”

On the Soccer and Volleyball team:

“It has been a good week around here. Our Volleyball team is coming off beating a ranked opponent (#24 Wichita State). Our Soccer team had a big win at Stephen F. Austin. I want to congratulate those programs.”

On preparing for a team that wants to pull off an upset:

“Well I have been on that side a lot coming from mid-major programs. I know how we prepared. It is their entire season. It can make their entire season. I haven’t sat there and told our players you better get prepared or you will get beat. I tell them that the key is that they have no excuse. We can’t make any excuses. This is a game we should win.”

“I have confidence in our guys. I think they are mature enough to understand that any team can beat you. You see it happening all over the country.”

On the extra up-downs at practice today:

“We set a standard, but that was a minimum standard. Now we are taking the standard higher. That goes for our best players. Our deal is total accountability. That is what these guys want. They want to be held accountable. Every single up-down represents a mental error, critical error or a turnover. That is why we are doing that.”

On his player’s response to the extra work:

“I am really proud of these guys. These guys have brought it every single day. What I like is that nobody had a bad attitude while doing up-downs.  That usually goes hand-in-hand. I don’t think they like it, but they don’t have a bad attitude doing it.”

On freshmen that will play Thursday:

“On defense, possibly some in the depth. On offense, I think E.J. (Ellis) Jefferson is going to play. Depending on where Cam (Cameron Smith) is with the muscle strain, but I think he will play this year. Also, depending on the development of Ronald (Lewis) he could play. I think that Zane Gonzalez is going to start. Right now there is a back-and-forth between Matt Haack and (Dom) Vizarre. I think Marcus Ball would have started if he wasn’t hurt.”

On pregame rituals for year two:

“I want to invite all our fans to come out for the Devil Walk. That is something we want to keep growing. Each of our players has an autograph football. That is for students and fans. We do that walk for our fans. It gives us time to interact with them. I like the tradition of those things.”

On pregame eating habits:

“The only big ritual I have is I eat a hot dog. I have always done this and I have had some great hot dogs. I will have our G.A. go out and find the best brat he can find and then I will have the stadium popcorn.”

On pregame warm-ups this year:

“One of the things we will do differently is last year everything was really structured, but this year we will go out and warm-up more like an NFL team. We will do a pre pre-game with our guys with just their pants and their jersey on. I like our guys to be in the stadium as much as they can. I like our guys to be at the stadium two-and-a-half hours before the game, take our time getting warmed up. (The time to kickoff is) very short once we start the pre-game.”

On Sacramento State:

“Their quarterback is very efficient. In the first game their offense wasn’t very indicative of how good they are. They put up over 400 yards a game last year. They had the ball inside the five-yard line and didn’t get any points. They missed two field goals. They had four scoring opportunities. Very good wideout, good wide receivers. They have these scat backs. Ezekiel Graham is a very comparable back. We’ve had R.J. Robinson at running back this week who is similar to that. Just like any team, they have got good skill players. They are well-coached on offense, in the kicking game. The key for us is not turning the ball over and not beating ourselves in the kicking game.”

On where the assistants will coach during the game:

“Defensively, Coach Ball is going to go upstairs. Coach Ball has taken a bigger role in the scheme, especially in the pass defense. Coach Randolph will be on the sideline. That is where he likes to be he likes to be connected to the players. Obviously, Coach Shipp will be on the field. Coach Shipp and Coach Randolph provide the energy that we need down there. Coach Lorig will be on the field with the special teams. Offensively, Coach Bo (Bo Graham) will be upstairs along with Coach Long. Coach Long was up there last year. Coach Alexander and Coach Norvell will be on the sideline.”

On the run defense:

“I do think we have made great strides there. I think a portion of it had to do with being primitive with our scheme. It’s hard because I can grow the scheme with the one’s, but the guys that are new with the two’s it is kind of frustrating because I’ve got one group over here and one group over here, but they are also going to have to play.”

“I think that we are much better against the rush because of two things. I think that we are better fundamentally and we have more depth.”

On his impressions of future opponents this weekend:

“I watched the entire Wisconsin game, spent most of my time watching Sac St. I watched most of the Washington game, all of the UCLA game, all of the USC game, all of the Arizona game. I will do that every week though. Every week I will watch USC, UCLA, Arizona. I was very impressed with Washington. I was very impressed with them. They beat a really good team in Boise State. Obviously USC is extremely talented. UCLA, I was very impressed with their offense. They have a great quarterback.  I thought he looked really good. They are all better than they were last year.”

On Damarious Randall and Joe Morris’s injuries:

“I think that either one of them could play if we wanted them to. I think Joe Morris will probably play limited. I think Damarious will probably not play. If he does it will be very limited.”

On Carl Bradford and Will Sutton chasing Terrell Suggs single season sack record:

“Obviously, that’s the mark. I like our guys to want to be the best. That’s a tall order. It’s kind of like me after Frank Kush’s win record. It is going to be a while. Obviously, he sets the mark around here. We talk about him. We talk about Pat Tillman a lot. We talk about how we play defense. I want those guys to be shooting for that mark. It is a high mark.” 

On turnovers:

“If we don’t turn the ball over this year, I believe we can win every game.” 

On practices this week:

“Yesterday was like a Tuesday for us and it was the best offensive practice we have had since we have been together. Today we turned the ball over a couple of times. That is going to be key: we have to be consistent. Today was one of the best defensive practices. We practice right now better than any day last year, but it is still not where it needs to be.”

On other improvements from last year:

“I think the leadership. Guys have come together. We spent a lot of time with that. We had Mike Haynes come in and work with our guys. We are bigger, we’re stronger and we’re faster. We’re a lot better in the bowl game than we were last year. Our depth, and our run defense are definitely better. I think we are as good in the pass defense as long as we don’t make mistakes with a new safety. I think Chris Young is a lot better, Will Sutton is a lot better than last year. He was 280 pounds last year. He is 310 right now. Carl is the same way. We have developed the guys we have and than I like their attitude. I like how they are approaching things everyday. “

On the new look receivers:

“I think our receiving corp is a lot better than it was last year.  We have a lot better weapons in the run game and in the pass game. We have bigger framed guys like Jaelen (Strong) and Joe (Morris) that are 6-4, 205-215 pound guys that help us. Chris Coyle is better. He is stronger.”

On D.J. Foster’s jump in camp:

“D.J. is the one that has made the greatest jump in how much better he is than last year.”

On Taylor Kelly’s maturity:

“I think Taylor (Kelly) has matured. We are going to measure that in one thing. Ball security. Don’t turn the football over. I think he is going to do a great job of that.”

On the field goal kicking situation:

“I think we are better at field goals. Now, I haven’t seen this kid (Zane Gonzalez) kick a field goal in a game, but I think we are better than we were last year.”

On the next five weeks:

“In the next five weeks, something is going to happen. We could be 5-0 or we could be 2-3, 1-4. These are all things that could happen. The most important thing if we are 2-3, we have got to make sure we are 2-0 in conference.”

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