Graham reiterates confidence in Sun Devils

Arizona State's head coach re-emphasized Thursday his belief in his team and expresses a desire to see fans be patient with their judgment.

Todd Graham had a message for Arizona State followers Thursday.

"I just want to reiterate to our fans my belief in this team and what we're doing," Graham said. "Let's see where we're at at the end of this thing because I've got a lot of confidence in [the team.].

"The defensive ends we played against [versus Texas A&M, when ASU yielded nine sacks], we won't play against better. I've got all the confidence in the world in [ASU's offensive tackles]. We're not going to fold up ship and put a pad lock on the door because we lost the first game. The expectation for our team is exactly what it is and I'd like to tell everybody let's wait until the end of the season and everybody can have their opinion and I guarantee our team will respond."

Junior left tackle Evan Goodman was working in a maroon offensive jersey for the first time this week Thursday after being in a green non-contact jersey but that position seemingly remained undecided two days ahead of ASU's home opener against Cal Poly Saturday at 8 p.m.

"(Redshirt freshman) Sam (Jones) maybe will start," Graham said. "Evan's been limited, he's beat up a little bit there. I look for Sam to maybe start at tackle. It depends on where Evan's at, I don't know what all he did today."

Home field advantage

With the first of three phases of the Sun Devil Stadium reinvention project complete, all of ASU's students will be in the lower bowl of the venue in a new, so-called "Double Inferno" in the north and newly constructed south end zones. It's something Graham said he's excited to experience, as well as being on the west sidelines for the first time in ASU history.

"I'm looking forward to running out of Tillman Tunnel, a place where our fans know we're 12-1 at home in the regular season," Graham said. "Our players know how important this game is and we're approaching this game like it's the championship game."

Murphy-Richardson will play

After he missed ASU's first game of the season due to a suspension for violation of team rules, redshirt freshman rush end Ismael Murphy-Richardson will be on the field Saturday for the first time in his college career.

Graham said he expects the 6-foot-4, 230 pound Murphy-Richardson to play a lot. He worked with the first-team in nickel situations Wednesday and also can back up senior starter Antonio Longino at Devil backer.

"Rush that passer and very athletic, somebody that Tony doesn't have to play every snap. I feel good about where he's at. He's had a really good week. He's got to be disciplined, he's never played in a game. We'll see where he's at. I think he can be a really good player for us, just got to continue to learn what he's doing."

Defensive line rotation may evolve

ASU was successful along its defensive front in the opener against the Aggies last week, with a three tackle rotation of senior Demetrius Cherry, junior Viliami Latu and sophomore Tashon Smallwood and two-end rotation of junior Edmond Boateng and true freshman Joseph Wicker.

Graham said he likes the look of the team at end now but would like to get another tackle into the mix if possible.

"I'd like to rotate four tackles," Graham said. "I think (redshirt freshman) Renell (Wren) is almost ready to get into that rotation. Last week we would have liked to have done that, played 80 plays, very fast a lot of times on the field."


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