Football is back. Today the ASU football team opens up their preseason camp for the 2014 season.
The opening of camp is an exciting time for every player, fan and coach of every team in the nation. There is the excitement of games looming in the coming month. There is the hunger of players trying to prove themselves. There is also the hope for a turnaround season or in ASU’s case, the hope for a chance to take their achievement to the next level.
Ranked #18 in the preseason coaches poll, the Sun Devils should have just enough confidence to feel relevant in the PAC-12 and on a national level. ASU players are also probably very aware that UCLA is ranked #7 in the same poll.
The optimism surrounding ASU is warranted, at least offensively. This offense, coordinated by Mike Norvelle and run by QB Taylor Kelly should be quite explosive. By all accounts, the offensive line is tougher and more physical than last year’s offensive line. The receiving corps is deeper and more talented, (especially with the addition of Eric Lauderdale). The running back position is solid, starting with DJ Foster, who has been called a “home run hitter”.
Of course, the focus of the off-season-and now the pre-season is the defense. ASU has to replace 9 starters on defense, including all American DT Will Sutton. Just listening to the coaches talk, it appears they are quite happy with the defensive secondary, especially the safeties. Cornerback might be an area of concern. But most of the scrutiny lies up front with new or unproven players at defensive tackle, defensive end and linebacker.
The good news is that even with Darrius Caldwell and Dalvon Stuckey being declared ineligible to play, there are plenty of young, talented defensive players all fighting for a position. Chans Cox, Antonio Longino, Edmund Boateng and company are all vying for playing time and whoever wins out will have to be PAC-12 ready in about six weeks.
Today’s format includes the veteran’s workout in the morning and newcomers in the evening. The coaches are going to earn their pay this weekend.
In any event, it’s an exciting time for ASU, as they prepare to defend their PAC-12 South title.