Arizona State football opened its fall practice schedule this morning, and by all appearances, the Sun Devils are bigger, faster and more confident than at the same time last year. Head Coach Todd Graham praised his team’s work in the opening session, which featured veteran players. An evening practice will involve mostly freshman and transfers to the team.
A light rain fell as Graham’s squad started the important work of preparing for the highly anticipated 2013 campaign. The offensive line starters were the same as during the spring, including Evan Finkenberg, Sil Ajawara, Kody Koebensky, Vi Teofilo and Jamil Douglas. The starters at the various skills positions also remained unchanged.
On defense, all eyes were on ASU’s heralded linebacker corps. Much is expected of this group during the upcoming season. The current starters include Anthony Jones at SPUR, Steffon Martin at SAM, Chris Young at WILL and Carl Bradford at DEVIL BACKER. The corner positions featured Lloyd Carrington, Rashad Wadood and Robert Nelson. Alan Darby played at boundary safety, while Laiu Moeakiola was at field safety.
Backfield threats Deantre Lewis and D.J. Foster saw plenty of action at the slot receiver position in the first day of practice. Both players appear to have gained size and strength without sacrificing quickness.
Quarterback Taylor Kelly was crisp in various drills throughout the morning. Kelly indicated that he focused on his footwork and release during the summer. He noticed progress at all of the key offensive positions. Kelly enters the 2013 season as the recognized leader of the ASU attack, and his command of offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s scheme was apparent to fans and media attending practice.
Coach Graham and his staff are anticipating the arrival of highly touted receiver Jaelen Strong at practice sometime this week. Strong is awaiting approval of admissions paperwork from the NCAA.