Chris Ball, Chip Long leave ASU for Memphis; Kodi Burns to be new running backs coach

Arizona State lost two coaches to Memphis this week and replaced one already with Middle Tennessee assistant Kodi Burns

Former Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell has finalized his staff at Memphis and added Sun Devil assistants Chip Long and Chris Ball as his offensive and defensive coordinators, respectively. 

The departure of two more ASU assistants means the Sun Devils will be replacing four of the team's nine assistant coaches who were on staff in the last six months. Former running backs coach Bo Graham abruptly left the team just two weeks before the team's season opener with Texas A&M. 

Bo Graham was replaced on staff by Josh Martin, who was elevated from offensive graduate assistant. Martin, a former offensive lineman, will remain on staff at ASU moving forward according to program sources and likely coach tight ends. 

ASU head coach Todd Graham has moved quickly to add another offensive assistant into the fold as he's in the process of hiring Kodi Burns to coach running backs. Burns, 27, coached receivers at Middle Tennessee State last season. 

Burns played quarterback and wide receiver for Auburn from 2007-10 and helped the team to its BCS National Championship in 2010. In 2007, Burns was the Most Valuable Player of the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 2007, with one rushing and one passing touchdown in the game. He primarily carried the football at Auburn and had 19 touchdowns. 

In 2012, Burns was an offensive graduate assistant at Arkansas State under Gus Malzahn and then followed Malzahn when he took the Auburn head coaching job and filled the same role there. In 2014, Burns coached running backs at Samford. 

Ball had a co-defensive coordinator title at ASU but last was a play caller at Washington State in 2011. He'll get to reprise that role at Memphis a year after the Sun Devils were last in the country in passing yards allowed per game in 2015, a season that followed on the heels of back-to-back 10-win seasons. 

Long and Ball were two of ASU's most important recruiters in terms of the areas they recruit and their activity level in pursuing prospects. Norvell was at one point called ASU's best recruiter by Todd Graham. Replacing all three men in that regard in one off-season figures to be a significant challenge. 

Additionally, ASU Assistant Head Sports Performance coach Josh Storms, who worked under Shawn Griswold, is leaving ASU to become the lead strength coach for Norvell at Memphis. 

Todd Graham has one additional hire to make baring any additional coaching departures, and there is still the potential for at least one other departure, according to a source. He'll have to find a replacement for Ball in the secondary, or perhaps hire a linebackers coach and move current defensive coordinator Keith Patterson to coach the secondary, where he has experience, and make a new hire to coach linebackers. 

Less than a month ago, Graham hired former Southern Miss offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey -- another coach with Malzahn ties -- to replace Norvell and lead ASU's offense. Lindsey was quickly thrust into action and shared play calling duties with Long in the team's Cactus Bowl loss to West Virginia, according to program sources. 

Norvell's staff at Memphis is very heavy with former ASU staffers. Paul Randolph, who coached defensive line and linebackers under Graham through the 2014 season, Joe Lorig, who coached special teams and cornerbacks for the Sun Devils through 2013, and former defensive graduate assistant Dan Lanning are all going to be on Norvell's Memphis staff. 

At ASU, wide receivers coach Del Alexander is the longest-tenured assistant and only coach who has been with Graham for his entire tenure at the school. Defensive line coach Jackie Shipp has three years on staff and Patterson has two seasons. 


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