Q&A With Taylor Kelly

On Saturday, Arizona State put on the pads for the first time this spring, going full contact inside Sun Devil Stadium. DevilsDigest caught up with senior quarterback Taylor Kelly afterwards to see how the first full week of camp has been for the Sun Devils, how D.J. Foster is adjusting to running back, and what his impressions have been of the new-look ASU defense.

DevilsDigest: After a couple of light practices earlier in the week, you guys put on the pads for the first time this spring. How'd it feel to go full contact today?

Taylor Kelly: "It felt good. Usually when you come out here the first day of practice, guys are just sluggish but our guys had a great energy about them and were just popping around and having fun."

DevilsDigest: The offense seemed to move the ball pretty well this morning against the defense. How would you assess the offense's overall performance?

Kelly: "They're looking good. The offensive line is doing a great job. Evan Goodman is doing an unbelievable job being on that left tackle, replacing Fink. Nick Kelly is doing a great job replacing Kody. And we've got some playmakers. There's some great guys out there at receivers. Gary Chambers is doing a great job and Fred Gammage too is doing a great job."

DevilsDigest: This will be your third season as the starting quarterback in Offensive Coordinator Mike Norvell's system. How much of a benefit is that familiarity for you?

Kelly: "It's amazing. The amount of things that he's taught is unbelievable. He's one of the best in the country doing it. For being my third year, it's great to be able to be out there and essentially be an offensive coordinator. You know, knowing when to flip a protection or knowing where I'm hot. The things that he's teaching me are at that next level and he's doing a great job with it."

DevilsDigest: One of the biggest stories, at least on the offensive side of the ball, this spring has been D.J. Foster's return to the backfield as he looks to replace Marion Grice at running back. How has it been having Foster in the backfield with you?

Kelly: "Oh yeah, I always like having D.J. back there. He's doing a great job learning the protections right now and handling the offense. And he's just so explosive. I mean, he took one for 60 yards today off an inside zone. We're expecting big plays out of him this season."

DevilsDigest: While it's still early, who have been some of the guys on offense that have really stood out to you or maybe even surprised you through the first week of camp?

Kelly: "Fred Gammage and Evan Goodman. Those two guys have been great. Fred is replacing Ric (Smith) and has been making big plays. He can go deep and his routes are nice and tight. He's just been doing a really good job out there. And Evan Goodman, you know, that's a hard spot being out there on the left tackle. He's learning all the plays and doing an unbelievable job getting prepared,"

DevilsDigest: The defense lost nine starters from last year's team, which obviously has given it a bit of a different look this spring. What's been your impression of the defense so far?

Kelly: "There are a lot of new faces but they're doing a great job out there. They're further ahead than we were last year at this time. They do a great job of listening to Coach Graham. They disguise their defense. These guys now, they've gotten to sit behind those great players and watch what they do, so they're not too far behind. DevilsDigest: Has there been anyone that's jumped out at you?

Kelly: "Jordan Simone. He's a walk-on but he's running with the ones right now. He's a guy that does a great job disguising his defense. He tries to mix things up for me. And he's a playmaker, so he's been doing a great job out there. He's a big hitter too."

DevilsDigest: Obviously you guys have a few more playmakers on the way who figure to be in the mix for playing time come the fall, but what's the agenda for the offense over the next four weeks before heading into the summer?

Kelly: "We really want to establish our tempo and we've got to get a lot better getting on the ball. That's a big thing for us. We've also got to protect the football and just start understanding exactly what we're doing within the offense and attacking it; whether it's getting checks from the sideline, getting lined up quick in between plays, and out-tempo teams."

DevilsDigest: Today was the Sun Devil Youth Experience and I believe I heard there were close to 800 kids on hand. How much fun is it for you to get out there and interact with some of the young Sun Devil fans like that?

Kelly: "It was awesome. I love when we get a bunch of kids out here and run them through different drills. It's a good coaching and teaching point for me and the kids really have a blast out here."

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