Q&A with Coach Mike Norvell

Devils Digest caught up with ASU's offensive coordinator Mike Norvell who gave his assessment of the offensive performance in last week's scrimmage.

Devils Digest: Coach, after watching the game film of the scrimmage how would you evaluate the offense and its performance?

Mike Norvell: "The scrimmage was a great learning experience for us. It was the first live action that a lot of these guys have gotten. It was fun for them to get out there and get that experience. We looked like it was a first scrimmage. There were a lot of things that obviously we need to clean up on, but the guys have really responded with these two practices."

Devils Digest: How would you assess the play of each of your quarterbacks?

Mike Norvell: "They've done really well. Taylor Kelly has had a great week this week, and he's really starting to become more consistent throwing the football. He's a very mobile, dual-threat type guy, and that brings a lot to the table. Kelly has had a good spring.

"Mike Bercovici has been very consistent throwing the ball, and he understands throwing on time, and he can make a lot of different throws. He probably was a little disappointed with his performance in the scrimmage, in some regards to timing and fundamentals, but he's come back and really corrected that…he had a good week.

"Michael Eubank is really starting to show some growth and maturity that you would hope to get out of a freshman. He's done a good job at really just becoming an all-around good football player."

Devils Digest: Who were some of the players that stood out on film?

Mike Norvell: "You look at Jamal Miles, who's a guy who made some spectacular plays in the scrimmage. Marcus Washington is still learning a position, but when he got the ball in his hands he did some good things. You look at Evan Finkenberg, you look at Brice Schwab really coming along…Andrew Sampson. Guys that are veterans, guys that are taking that next step at becoming leaders.

"We have a young guy, Jamil Douglas who is really coming along. We've got some guys up front who are really standing out and doing some good things. We had another back go down, and James Morrison stood up and ran the ball extremely hard. You see Deantre Lewis as a guy who got his first real live action back from his injury last year, and seeing him come out and gaining that confidence is really, really fun to watch."

Devils Digest: The running backs collected 205 yards last Saturday, for a scheme that puts so much emphasis on the run game; you must have been pleased with that display?

Mike Norvell: "I was really pleased with the type of yards they gained. They had to lower their shoulder sometimes, and fight for the tough yards, and you always like seeing that mentality. They're really working hard, and that's a big tribute to the guys up front creating some holes for them, for the receivers on the perimeter block, and it's good to see that they're starting to buy into that."

Devils Digest: While the running backs were able to gain w lot of yards on the ground, the quarterbacks were harassed a lot too. Do you think that the offensive line played as well as you expected them to in the scrimmage?

Mike Norvell: "We still had a lot of mental mistakes. We had some missed assignments and inner protections that let some guys run free. Like I said, it was the first scrimmage, and the best thing about it was being able to learn from it. We had some things that we had to get corrected, and I think we're well on our way to doing that."

Devils Digest: Considering the fact that there were four touchdown receptions in the scrimmage, were you surprised how well this inexperienced wide receiver group did?

Mike Norvell: "I wasn't really surprised. We challenge those guys each and every day. There's still a lot of plays that were left out there. I want more. I'm expecting a very high result from those guys and it's something we have to keep challenging them to get better each and every day. But I was pleased with the ball in the end zone."

Devils Digest: The high-octane concept is a staple of this offense. Were you satisfied with the tempo that the offense ran in the scrimmage?

Mike Norvell: "Honestly, no I was not. I thought we were extremely slow, and didn't get lined up as quickly as we could have. If you've watched the last couple of practices, this is starting to get to the tempo at which we want to get to. The scrimmage really was not very good."

Devils Digest: Coach Graham alluded to the fact that a first scrimmage will show a team that they have a long ways to go. Has the offense progressed as much as you expected them to after just two weeks of practice?

Mike Norvell: "They really have. It's a great feel for where you're at as an offense. We have some learning.. this is the first year, and we have a lot of inexperienced guys. The thing that I've been pleased with is the response after. The two practices after the first scrimmage. The guys are really starting to pick it up. It's obviously a sign of progress, and it's part of the process. We're not trying to play a game here tomorrow, but we're going to make sure these ol' boys here are ready when it rolls around this fall."

Devils Digest: What areas do you feel that the offense needs to improve on the most as spring practice progresses?

Mike Norvell: "Just consistency. We want to be able to execute faster than everybody in the country. And that's something that we're going to continue to work on."


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