Foster making a smooth transition

Coming into the 2012 season as one of the most highly touted recruits to sign with Arizona State in recent years, Sun Devil fans had lofty expectations for D.J. Foster. Five games into the season and the running back is already the team leader in rushing yards and third on the team in receiving yards. Suffice to say that former Scottsdale Saguaro standout has so far lived up to expectations.

"D.J. has been tremendous," Arizona State Head Coach Todd Graham said. "Unbelievable talent, who fits in our offense in so many ways. The sky is the limit for what he can do. But he's a better person than he is a player and he is a tremendous player.

"Him and (defensive lineman) Jaxon Hood are the two best freshmen, from a standpoint of talent and character that I have ever been around."

D.J. Foster believes that he can play at an even higher level that he has shown so far, and he will only get better with time.

"I would say that I have been average through the first five games," Foster claimed. "I have been doing ok but there is always room for improvement and I still have a lot of things to work on. I now know what my weaknesses are and how I can make myself a better player. I need to make sure I clean those things up in time for our next game."

Most newcomers who are fortunate to play in their freshmen year either play a limited amount of snaps, or only participate in a set package of plays. In ASU's first five games, Graham has shown his willingness to put Foster in during key situations. The running back isn't surprised at his level of involvement and hopes he can continue to earn his Head Coach's trust.

"I do a lot in practice and whatever they tell me to do I do," Foster commented. "I am just blessed to be playing as a freshman and to get all the opportunities that I have. I am excited to play in whatever situation they put me in.

"I just focus on making the big play in a key situation so that they will continue to give me these opportunities"

Foster admits that it was tough to transition from a high school playbook to one as complex as Offensive Coordinator's Mike Norvell's playbook. Now that he has a better understanding of the scheme and plays, he is performing with more ease out on the field.

"It took me a couple of weeks to learn the playbook completely," Foster admitted. "Every week though I am getting better and better and there is less hesitation for me to run my routes. It is definitely easier to play during the game when you are comfortable with the playbook."

Another aspect that Foster has had to adapt to is choosing the right time to use his speed and when he should rely solely on his strength.

"I move from receiver to back quite frequently throughout the game," Foster explained. "I just have to learn when to use my quickness at the right time. It's something that I am getting a better understanding for every week. I am just focused on going out there and having fun."

One of the biggest factors in Foster's smooth transition from the high school level to college one has been the leadership displayed by veterans on the offense, and the consequent mentoring he has received.

"All of the quarterbacks and Cam [Cameron Marshall] have really helped me get comfortable in this offense," Foster noted. "They were helping me out early with plays, and now we are able to push each other on the practice field to make each other better."

Foster believes that the win last week against Cal was important for the team on a number of levels. Most importantly the win brought them to 2-0 in conference play.

"It was big, we haven't beat Cal in a while," Foster said. "We were able to move to 2-0 in our division which is the most significant thing. Our main goal is to go to the Rose Bowl. It was also nice to get our first road win heading into our bye.

"It was a huge win."

Foster was also able to play last week in front of several family and friends who live in the Bay Area and face some of the Golden Bears coaches he was heavily interacting with during the recruiting process.

"It was fun to play Cal last week," Foster remarked. "All my family was out there and it was a good time. I love it when I have the chance to play in front of my family. I was [also] able to talk with some of the coaches from Cal that I met last year and overall just had a good time."

Foster will enjoy his bye week and use it as an opportunity to prepare early for Colorado. He does however contend that the team doesn't view this brief hiatus as an opportunity to slow down.

"We are still keeping the same intensity in practice," Foster said. "We want to stay fresh and make sure our bodies are still physically ready. We are able to focus more on the fundamentals and make sure we are crisp with over a week until our next game. We are also more mentally focused for Colorado since we are able to watch a lot more film.

"We just need to play hard and we practice hard every day. We just need to make sure to translate that onto the football field next Thursday against Colorado."

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