ASU junior defensive end Davon Coleman had just one tackle against Utah.
It’s the fewest he’s recorded this season, but coach Todd Graham felt it was his best performance through four games.
“I think Coleman had his best game last week,” he said. “I think our defensive line has played well.”
Coleman was pleased he didn’t have any mental errors or penalties in the game.
He was all over the defensive line in his first career start as a Sun Devil. Similar to junior defensive tackle Will Sutton, Coleman is athletic enough to play every position up front.
Except Coleman can play fullback.
Graham inserts Coleman on offense in ASU’s goal line jumbo formation. It features Coleman at fullback, junior tight ends Chris Coyle and Darwin Rogers and redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Tyler Sulka lined up as a tight end.
Playing on offense isn’t anything new to Coleman. He played running back at Glenville High School in Cleveland, Ohio, also played middle linebacker, defensive end and defensive tackle.
“I love that,” Coleman said as he chuckled. “I’m used to battling inside, so I’m pretty comfortable with that.”
Coleman didn’t choose to play defensive tackle (he wanted to play linebacker), but he was recruited to the position at Fort Scott Community College in Kansas. He collected 65 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and two forced fumbles as a redshirt freshman.
When he came to Tempe last season, he realized the adjustment from junior college is very different.
“The practices are faster and just take a lot more mental work and focus,” Coleman said.
He didn’t have that last year. He said he really didn’t know how to work until Graham was hired.
“This coaching staff really showed me how to work,” Coleman said. “Just getting on me and staying on me. Not having one bad day, attacking every play and not taking any plays off.”
His teammates have noticed the change. Sutton, redshirt sophomore linebacker Carl Bradford and redshirt senior linebacker Brandon Magee raved about the way he approaches practice this season
“His attitude at practice, he comes out yelling, intense, and he’s one of the best defensive lineman we have this year,” Magee said.
Graham said the key to winning is preparation. As he typically feels the same about the rest of his players, Graham thinks Coleman still has plenty room for improvement.
“He’s a likable guy,” Graham said. “He’s really improved dramatically. But, we really need him to step up as he did last week and keep getting better. He can be as good as we wants to be.”
Lewis practicing at safety
Graham envisioned redshirt sophomore Deantre Lewis as a bandit safety when the running back made the switch to defense.
Lewis took second team reps at the position on Tuesday. Safeties coach Chris Ball guided him on Lewis’s pre-snap assignments and position.
Lewis played the majority of third down plays at cornerback out of ASU’s nickel-and-dime packages against Utah.
“We’re bringing him along,” Graham said. “As fast as he can learn it and the more he’ll play. He’s done a good job and had a good attitude for us.”
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