On the turnaround ASU's made under his leadership:
Graham: "I don't do a whole lot. I don't make any plays or score any points. We've just established a culture, a plan to win the Pac-12 Championship, that's our goal every year and to win a National Champion, (with) a plan that's unique to us. Character, smart, discipline, tough. We've just developed that culture. Some things I really like seeing, 70 of our 110 players are what we call scholar ballers, 3.0 or higher (grade-point average) and 12 academic all-Pac-12 players last year, second to Stanford. The scholar of the year came through Arizona State. More all-conference players than any three-year period in the history of our program, 28 wins is the most wins in a three-year period (since joining Pac-10/12). So we've done a solid job but I can tell you no one in our building thinks that back-to-back 10 win seasons was a success. Our goal was to be Pac-12 Champions and everybody in our building knows we fell short of that losing a couple games late that we weren't supposedly, supposed to lose, but you've got to bring it every week in this league. The depth, this group of kids, the culture is established. We're stronger, faster, more explosive. I like the sacrifices our quarterback has made to lead this team. I really like the intangibles that go along with that. This is the best football team I've ever coaches, it's the best we've ever been since I've been at Arizona State, so I'm excited."
On the significance of playing Texas A&M in the season opener:
Graham: "It's huge. I'll tell you, I don't care about what everybody else is doing or how they're doing it. They came to me with that came, Steve Patterson who was our [athletic director] a couple years ago and said, 'What do you think about this game?' I didn't hesitate. This is the kind of game I want to coach in, it's a kind of game I know we're ready for going into our fourth season. Obviously it's a road game, a neutral site in Houston so it's going to be a road game, but our players want to coach in and our players want to see. Let me tell you, this has been the best summer maybe since I've been coaching. Our players sense of urgency, they understand, 'Man, we're going on the road in the SEC right off the get go.' I really like this game. Obviously our future schedule has Michigan State and LSU and games like that. I really believe when he played Notre Dame and Wisconsin in the same season it really helped us be a better football team. So I love that game and I'm looking forward to Sun Devils coming out and representing and we'll be ready to go."
On the difference this year and expectations for his team:
Graham: "Last year we had a little chip on our shoulder because we had nine starters to replace. I'd like to tell you I was extremely confident but I'll tell you this: Sometimes I worked in desperation. We had to get better in a hurry....What are our expectations. If we don't win the Pac-12 Championship -- and I'm not talking about the South, I'm talking about the Championship -- we haven't had a successful year. That's the kind of place I'm interested in. I'm not interested in the kind of job where we want to go to a bowl game. So when it comes to that, your players listen to what you say and also you're convincing yourself. There's no other option. This is what we're doing. So, we need to work with that same sense of urgency this year and not say, 'oh we've got all these returning starters, we should be better.' There are no guarantees. You earn it every day."