ASU coach Todd Graham summed up the first practice for the team’s newcomers simply.
“What a great group,” Graham said after practice. “Man, wow, we have some impressive newcomers.”
While Graham seemed happy with all of the new players, a couple of units stood out.
“I was very, very impressed with the secondary … guys moving around real good, really communicating on the back end, long guys, tall safeties,” Graham said. “Linebacker, obviously we got some good newcomers there. (Redshirt sophomore) Antonio Longino, (freshman Vili)ami Latu … very, very impressed with the young linebacker corps that we have.”
Longino played alongside Latu at the Sam and Will linebacker spots after spending the morning learning from the veterans.
“I carried a notepad during the other practice, the upperclassman practice,” Longino said. “I’m still learning, I’m not coming in thinking I know it all so I got a notepad with me.”
Longino said the notes seemed to be working and that he was “adjusting well,” but the intricacies of the defense would take some time to get down pat.
Communicating with both Viliami and Alani Latu — who are also newcomers — also helped, he said.
“We’re giving each other advice, we’re just helping each other out,” Longino said.
Offense continues to work on pistol set
Tuesday night’s newcomers practice had a few veterans sprinkled in, making it the perfect time to introduce a new wrinkle in the Sun Devil offense.
The Pistol set, a scheme in which the quarterback lines up in the shotgun with the running back a few yards directly behind him, is a different alignment than the Sun Devils usually ran last year.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Michael Eubank said the newcomers were adapting quickly.
“They’re actually taking it well," Eubank said. "They were actually with us in the summer so they had a chance to get to it early so when they came out here it wasn’t too much of a surprise for them. The one thing that was a surprise for them was the tempo … but they got their plays down and everything seems to be working for them.”
Eubank was also sporting a new jersey number, switching from No. 18 to “divine nine”, even though it wasn’t his first choice.
“I wanted eight but, you know, the great ‘A-State Eight,’ Mr. D.J. Foster has that,” Eubank said. “I wanted five also but someone let me know five was taken; the only number left was nine so I changed it to divine nine.”
- Junior wide receiver Joe Morris, redshirt sophomore wide receiver Jaelen Strong, redshirt junior defensive back Damarious Randall and junior linebacker Eriquel Florence were not at practice.
- Freshmen wide receivers Ronald Lewis and Cameron Smith ran excellent routes, caught the ball well and were impressive overall.
- Graham had good things to say about linebacker Chans Cox after he sat out during the spring with a foot injury. “Talk about looks good, (and) trained well,” Graham said of Cox.
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