The more things stay the same, the more they change.
The ASU football team started its second spring ball camp under coach Todd Graham Tuesday.
Last year’s spring practices were the first time the ASU players got formal coaching by Graham.
Although players are more used to Graham’s Texas accent this year, the practices are not quite exactly the same from last year.
“We will only go 20 periods,” he said. “It is a lot faster, but we’re getting a lot more reps in a shorter period of time. So I thought today was really good.”
That is right — the Sun Devils’ practices are actually shorter.
But the shorter session is just as intense. Players may have left the field Thursday early, but they left drenched in sweat and out of breath.
“He didn’t keep us out there that long, but during that time frame, I mean, he gets 100 percent out us, whether we want to or not,” senior center Kody Koebensky said. “We’re getting real good work within that two hours.”
At this time last year players really did not know what to expect when they got off the tram for spring practice.
They did not know too much about Graham and did not know what his practices were going to be like.
Koebensky said this spring has been a nice change. There is no more mystery, and the players do not have to wonder what is coming next in a practice.
With a season under his belt, Graham also has a stronger relationship with the players compared to last spring.
Redshirt senior cornerback Osahon Irabor said the practices feel a lot different compared to last year.
“We definitely feel like a family,” he said. “We know these coaches, they know us. They care about us, and we just work hard for them. They put a lot of pressure on us to get better each and every day.”
Thursday marked the day any football player looks forward to: the first day in pads.
The Sun Devils have not been able to go full contact since the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 2.
The extra weight puts a little bit of strain on the body. Irabor said the team was a little more winded Thursday compared to earlier in the week.
The shells do give the opportunity for players to make a nice hit.
Irabor had his first crack of the spring against redshirt senior receiver Alonzo Agwuenu.
“I took a good shot on Alonzo in one-on-one’s,” he said. “He still caught the ball. I’ll give credit for that, but I gave him a good pop. It was good to hit somebody with the pads on again.”
Some new recruits that enrolled at ASU early are able to practice this spring.
At 6 feet, 5 inches and 251 pounds, freshman defensive end Kisima Jagne definitely catches the eye.
Touted recruit freshman linebacker Chans Cox was dressed, but he did not practice because of injury.
Redshirt freshman linebacker Carlos Mendoza was wearing a green “no contact” jersey today. Senior defensive end Junior Onyeali was also limited at practice.
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CORRECTION: Due to a reporting error the story reported that ASU recruit punter Matt Haack was practicing. That is incorrect he is not on the team yet.