Graham: 'Can't force explosive plays'

Arizona State would like to start showing more big play potential on the offensive side of the football, but its head coach Todd Graham said it has to come in time as the Sun Devils settle into an offensive identify.

There's been a lot fewer explosive plays from Arizona State's offense in its first two games this season and that isn't lost on its head coach Todd Graham.

But he thinks they'll come in time. This week presents another opportunity -- Friday at 7 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium against New Mexico -- and the last before the Sun Devils get into conference play, when things likely won't get any easier.

"The first week we had a hard time protecting our quarterback and that had a lot to do with the team we were playing," Graham said. "We've done a good job with our run blocking up front. We've protected our quarterback somewhat. A lot of it is just having to go 13 plays and score and that's hard. We need more one play touchdowns.Those things will come, you can't force those things. You've got to kind of find what your identify is. We're adapting as we go.

But I've got a lot of confidence in (senior center) Nick (Kelly) and (senior left guard) Christian (Westerman) and (senior right guard) Vi (Teofilo) and those guys up front. We've got to get them all practicing. We haven't had them all practicing (together). Those five guys need to practice together every day. That's important. The last couple days we've had them all practicing. You've got to go out and earn it, that's what we've talked to our guys about and we're in good shape to do it."

New Mexico gave up 600 yards of total offense in a 40-21 loss to Tulsa Saturday, which followed its season-opening 66-0 win over Mississippi Valley State.

"Excited about Friday," Graham said. 'Encourage everybody to wear white, I know they got the whiteout going. Can't wait to get back on the field and go at it again. Obviously, this is the last week before we start conference play, so it's important we get everything hitting on all cylinders. Obviously, we haven't done that to this point, but our deal is to be 1-0 every week. The key is for us to get most of our guys healed up. I know our guys are eager to go out there and put a complete game together."

Graham provided no definitive answer Wednesday whether several ASU injured players, most notably junior running back De'Chavon Hayes and junior defensive tackle Viliami Latu, would play Friday, but neither has been observed by reporters getting any reps in practice this week. Sophomore safety Armand Perry is out with a left ankle injury, and will be replaced by either freshman Kareem Orr, or sophomore Chad Adams in the starting lineup. Orr received first-team reps Tuesday.


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