Things got a little feisty during ASU football’s sixth practice of spring camp Saturday.
During a scrimmage, junior running back D.J. Foster received a handoff. Like any other practice, he didn’t expect the defense to use much effort to stop him.
Then came freshman linebacker D.J. Calhoun, who met Foster near the line of scrimmage and delivered a hard hit on the team’s premier tailback.
Foster didn’t take the freshman’s hit too kindly. The two teammates jawed at each other as they walked away.
It’s a test coach Todd Graham wanted to make for his players on Saturday, even with the season opener being just under five months away.
“We’re trying to give them a little extra at the end of the play, see if they’ll take the cheese,” Graham said.
Still, Graham clarified Foster received an unsportsmanlike penalty, which completely goes against Graham’s philosophy. Graham said the team had never received an unsportsmanlike penalty in a game over the past two seasons. While he likes the passion players like Foster are showing, Graham wants the team to remain disciplined.
It was a major theme for the rest of Saturday’s session. It was the first time all spring the coaches made the players extensively scrimmage, and several Pac-12 referees were on hand for the team to use to correct itself.
Graham also mentioned that he issued redshirt freshman wide receiver Ellis Jefferson to push himself on Saturday because the coaches believed he was simply going through motions in past practices. Jefferson responded by making a couple acrobatic catches.
“We scripted for success,” Graham said. “We scripted for conflict to stress them, see how they’re going to respond. We’re trying to create teachable moments. … I like the spirit. I like the passion.”
— Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Christian Westerman played more time with the first team at both left and right guard. Westerman, who redshirted last season due to transfer rules after coming from Auburn, often practiced with the second team at the start of spring camp.
— Graham praised Calhoun for his performance in spring camp so far and said he’s currently projected as the starter at Will linebacker.
— Unlike previous seasons, Graham has been closely working more with the cornerbacks, especially with co-defensive coordinator Keith Patterson coaching the front-line. With redshirt junior cornerback Lloyd Carrington being limited due to his hamstring, Graham said redshirt juniors Solomon Means and Rashad Wadood are stepping up in Carrington’s absence and are improving.
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