ASU Football: How Casey Tucker’s absence will affect the offensive line

PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Zach Robertson
PALO ALTO, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: Zach Robertson /

In the fall, ASU football will feature a veteran-heavy offensive line. But without standout graduate transfer Casey Tucker, how will Dave Christensen’s group respond in 2019?

Casey Tucker is your prototypical student-athlete from Stanford.

As a graduate transfer from the Cardinal, Tucker arrived at ASU by trading hours of playing video games for hours of reading books. He graduated from Stanford with a degree in Philosophy and still enraptured himself in his studies.

When Tucker first arrived in Tempe, he was quiet and was teased by his new teammates who had been with the program for longer.

“Anything he does is kind of funny,” senior offensive lineman Cohl Cabral said. “Just because (Tucker) was new we just kind of made fun of him.”

Although his new teammates gave Tucker a hard time, including his piano playing abilities, the graduate senior became a staple for the Sun Devils’ offensive line.

Redshirt junior Zach Robertson played next to Tucker last season, moving to left tackle while Tucker moved over to left guard. He recalled learning a thing or two from the Stanford graduate.

“(Tucker taught me) a lot of things with footwork and a lot of things with getting my hands inside,” Robertson said. “Casey was a great finisher, he finished well on contact and gets up to the second level.

“I often have a lot of questions for him.”

Mentorship is often synonymous with leadership. And for Tucker, his leadership skills were evident  once the graduate senior had acclimated himself to the Sun Devil way.

“He was basically our senior leader,” Robertson said. “He’s very energetic, he’s hilarious, he’s definitely a big kid for sure.”

At 6-foot-6 and 315 pounds, Tucker had started in 22 games, including the 2015 Rose Bowl, for the Cardinal and was an All Pac-12 Honorable Mention in his one season in Tempe.

Robertson, Cabral and the rest of the ASU offensive line will not deny that they will miss having Tucker on the line in 2019. But, the Sun Devils enter the spring with five seniors for next season, including Cabral, who passed up the NFL in favor of returning to ASU.

Offensive line coach Dave Christensen has a very strong core of veteran lineman to go along with a deep pool of young talent with the likes of Jarrett Bell, Spencer Lovell and Ralph Frias being just a few headliners.

Although gone, Tucker’s impact will not be forgotten. His addition to the front five gave the Sun Devils an anchor to build around last year and experience to learn from.

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“Last year at this time, we were a little nervous about our offensive line,” said coach Herm Edwards.  “Now, I look (at our offensive line) and it’s kind of one of our strengths. We’ve got a lot of guys who have played a lot of football and (have) played at different positions.”

All quotes in this article were obtained firsthand by Devils in Detail unless otherwise noted.