Mike Norvell enters his second year as offensive coordinator for ASU football with high hopes for redshirt junior Taylor Kelly and company, which averaged 38.4 points per game in 2012, good for 14th nationally. The State Press sat down with him after Tuesday’s practice to get an update on where the offense stands after Camp Tontozona:
State Press: Defensively, there are a couple of positions that are still trying to be figured out, but offensively it looks like your first team is pretty set. Do you think your first team is set at this point?
Mike Norvell: We’ve got some great competition. We’ve got a great crew coming back, and guys are really starting to establish themselves. I feel pretty confident in the guys up front and where we are there. We’ve had some guys step up at receiver, which is big for us.
SP: Speaking of the line, how has Tyler Sulka looked at that starting right tackle spot since he took it over?
MN: He’s done a really good job. Tyler worked his tail off this summer, and we challenged him on a couple of things. He’s done a great job getting himself ready and prepared.
SP: What have you seen out of your receivers, other than Jaelen Strong?
MN: You look at a guy like Rick Smith, and he’s had an incredible camp. He’s proven himself to be a go-to receiver. We are really looking forward to getting Cameron Smith back out there. We are just looking forward to getting some more weapons out there to use.
SP: How much will having those weapons on the outside change the offense from last year?
MN: It will really help the running game and allow us to push the ball down the field with shots.
SP: How nice is it to not have a quarterback competition going on at this point? It must be nice to have Taylor Kelly work with the first team and really develop a new level of chemistry.
MN: I think it’s good just getting that continuity. Obviously, we’ve got three really good quarterbacks who are still competing and pushing each other. Having that experience coming back definitely helps you sleep easier at night.
SP: That same thing kind of goes for the running backs too, right? You know what to expect out of Marion Grice, D.J. Foster and even Deantre Lewis.
MN: No question. Now we know what we have with Marion and with D.J. We think they are two of the most dynamic backs in the country, and then you throw in Deantre Lewis, who has really come back to the form he had his freshman year, and that’s something I’m really excited about.
SP: How game ready is the offense at this point?
MN: We’re not there yet. We definitely have a long way to go, but we still have about 15 days before we kick it off. We need every single one of them and have to continue to get better and continue to execute.
- Senior running back Kyle Middlebrooks was out of the green no-contact jersey for the second consecutive day while senior linebacker Anthony Jones remained in his for the second consecutive day. Four other Sun Devils remained in green jerseys.
- Senior linebacker Chris Young saw reps at Spur linebacker, his position last season. Young had been full time at Will linebacker but has seen more action at Spur the past few days.
- The Sun Devils wore their black helmets to practice and attended marching band practice after their own for a watermelon and Popsicle social.
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