Graham's Thursday's Post-Practice Comments

Heading into this week's matchup against Missouri, Coach Graham and his Sun Devils will face their first challenge on the road. Coach Graham spoke Thursday on the keys to being successful on Saturday, as well as the performance of some of his players during the early portion of the season.

How has this week of practice gone?

"I am very pleased with how our guys have prepared. Let me tell you, Missouri is a very difficult team to prepare for and to simulate. Their quarterback is very difficult to simulate for, they have great skill players, [and] it's going to be a challenge. I think our guys are up for it, we are prepared, and I am really proud of them. The key for us going into the game is to take care of the football and win the turnover battle."

What is the attitude of the team as they prepare to go on the road for the first time this year?

"We are excited to go on the road. We are a new team [and] this is the first time for us to go on a business trip. That's why I give them their blazers, because this is a business trip. Our mission is to figure out a way to win. They know that it will be a different environment on the road, [but] that's when your mental maturity has to come out. On the road in the SEC is tough, but there are no excuses. We are going to control the things we can control and we are going to play Sun Devil Football. That's hard edged, disciplined football with class. I feel like the only team that can beat this team is ourselves."

How would you rate Will Sutton's performance so far this season?

"Right now he is as good a defensive tackle that I've seen play. He can be as good as I have coached. The last game was one of the most dominating games I've seen a defensive tackle play. He has courage and willed the team [on] and was a leader. I think our guys follow him, he's very charismatic. It's hard to coach him hard because he's so likeable. We need to coach him hard [as] I think he is one of the main personalities of this defense. He's a special player and is very talented. He's also very smart, and we haven't utilized that fully but we are trying to."

Athletically what sets him apart from other defensive tackles?

"He's very explosive, and he's very good with his hands. He's not the biggest guy, but his first step is very explosive. He was born with some explosiveness. He's also very smart and savvy. You can tell that he's played a lot of games."

Do you think your defensive line can capitalize on the injured Missouri offensive line?

"I think it better, I think that our defensive line in the first two games have dominated the line of scrimmage. We have to do that to be successful, [and] we have to impact the quarterback. If he has time to sit back in the pocket, he will burn us. They have a good football team and they are very capable, but the strength of our defense is our line and we have to dominate."

What do you tell your two quarterbacks as they prepare to play in their first road game?

"I don't say two words to them, because I have all the confidence in the world in them. Before the last two games all I did was walk to their locker shake their hands and told them to take care of the football. We have two guys that are doing just that. The key thing is that we don't get swelled up in importance and think it's all about us. They just need to let the system work for them. I have watched Taylor Kelly when Michael Eubank has done something great and he's happy for him. Their character has really shown the first two games. There will be a time though when we are losing, and we need to tie the game. We have done that in this offense, and they are doing a great job of letting the scheme work for them. We have all the confidence in these guys, and Taylor Kelly is my mom's favorite player, so he's good."

Why did you decide to invite Willie Bloomquist to practice?

"He's a great Sun Devil and we are thrilled to have him. That's something I want our players to respect, we are all Sun Devils. He said he was really proud in how we are winning and the character that we are showing. I told him that I would love to have him around our players any time. He's a great Sun Devil and he loves this place. That's what I want our kids to see he's a great guy who benefited from the baseball program and he is coming back. He is being present and supporting the school."

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