In the 2013 season, the ASU football team averaged 81.5 offensive plays per game, good for 14th in the country. In 2014, the Sun Devils plan on playing even faster.
In coach Todd Graham’s first weekly press conference of the season Monday, he said that when a team moves into a system like his, there is usually a period of adjustment.
“Yeah, we’re moving faster,” Graham said. “One of the things when you come into a new program and when you go into a fast tempo offense the key is you have to find that happy medium. Even last year there were times where I had to say, ‘Hey, we have to slow down’ because of the amount of snaps.”
Graham said the key to his offense is that it helps his team control the clock and how its opponent has to play.
“We run a fast-paced, no-huddle run-and-gun, not a fast-paced, no-huddle pass,” Graham said. “So when you’re running the ball, the clock runs and you actually are controlling (the tempo).”
Graham focused on the amount of plays that his defense has to be on the field as one of the end results of the offense. Last season, ASU averaged 71.2 plays on defense last year, placing it 34th out of 125 teams in Division I. Graham said his goal is to have his defense on the field for fewer than 70 plays per game.
“Time of possession doesn’t matter, it’s how many snaps you play on defense,” Graham said. “If you play 80 snaps on defense and you hold the other team to 35 points, you’re doing a pretty good job. That’s a lot of snaps. We want to keep those snaps under 70, and so there’s a method that we use to go about doing that.”
Graham said experience is the most important asset to making the up-tempo offense work.
“I’ll tell you where it takes the most experience, quarterback and offensive line,” Graham said. “The receivers usually pick it up pretty fast, and they’re usually in pretty good shape. I’ve been talking to (senior offensive lineman) Jamil Douglas a lot here recently, and he was talking about how much faster (it’s been).”
When Graham got to Tempe in 2012, he said that it would take three years to fully implement the up-tempo offense. This will be the third season, and he believes that he will make good on that statement.
“I said this when I got here that it takes three years to get (to) where you can go fast,” Graham said. “We should be able to go fast.”
Reach the reporter at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @Tonis_The_Tiger