Senior wide receiver Devin Lucien had four catches for 39 yards and his first touchdown as an Arizona State player in Saturday's win over Colorado.
A post-graduate transfer from UCLA in his first season with the Sun Devils, Lucien is feeling like the assimilation process is behind him and he's ready to make an impact in the home stretch of his college career.
"It was kind of difficult," transitioning from UCLA to ASU, Lucien said. "You see yourself, you feel like you're making plays but your coach is still telling you that you're messing up. It's like damning. You feel like you're doing it right but your coach is telling you, 'no, that's not how we do it.' It's all over the place, I'm telling you. I can't even put it in a verbiage because my head is all over the place. I come out and try to compete every day and if they like it they like it and if they don't I'm going to try to get better at it.
"It was never any rough edges with the way we came at each other, it was just, 'you need to do it our way.' When you learn something for four years and then you come to a different place and they want you to do it a different way it's going to take some time but I fee like I made the adjustment."
Lucien has 20 catches for 220 yards and the one touchdown reception through six games for ASU, and he was very limited at USC due to a hamstring strain after being awkwardly tackled against New Mexico the previous week. Those half-season numbers aren't far off from last year with the Bruins, when Lucien had 29 catches for 225 yards and two touchdowns.
Even so, Lucien expects more from himself and ASU senior quarterback Mike Bercovici said this week that Lucien is "the most competitive person" he's been around as a player.
"I probably am the most competitive person," Lucien said. "Hard on myself. It's ridiculous. I'm my own worst critic all the time. I try to get everything perfect. Mike saying that, I feel like him being around me more, he's starting to understand me more. Not only myself and what I can do better but I'm always thinking about what the next person is doing so I can be better than them. My mind is always going with stuff like that. I feel like it's going to add to my game at some point down the line."
Timing was an issue earlier in the year as Lucien and the rest of ASU's receivers worked to get in sync with Bercovici. But in recent games Lucien has made several highlight reel grabs including one that was questionably ruled a drop last week against the Buffaloes. Several of the impressive catches Lucien has made have been of the back shoulder fade variety, which is a staple in the ASU offense under coordinator Mike Norvell, including one that was especially acrobatic.
"Our comfort level is good," Luciens said of the Bercovici rhythm. "The back shoulder pass is a reaction, it's not really a play. When you run it, it's just a reaction play. I think people put a little too much emphasis on that back shoulder. It's a great concept to have in your offense but me and Mike just need to be on a connection period and everything else will go from there."
- Sophomore running back Demario Richard suffered what appears to be a right knee injury against Saturday. ASU head coach Todd Graham said Monday he expects Richard will be available to play this week against Utah. Wednesday, ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell said, "Demario's coming along. He got a little banged up in the game. He's out there today getting some work in. We'll see where he's at as the week continues to progress."
- ASU junior wide receiver Fred Gammage should be able to play this week after Gammage missed four games with an undisclosed injury. "Fred's coming along," Norvell said. "I think Fred's going to be available this week. We tried to get him rolling last week, wasn't quite there yet. I think we can expect to see him out there. Which will really help ups. Fred's a guy who is kind of a do-everything receiver for us. He can play every spot. [Junior wide receiver Tim White's] been playing a bunch of snaps, as many snaps as anyone we've had at receiver. So getting Fred back, he'll be able to help and (junior receiver Eric Lauderdale] is coming along and will be able to help and make sure we're able to keep guys fresh and play at tempo."