Ballage attention fully on adjustment to new coaches, offensive tweaks

Arizona State figures to be strong at the running back position in 2016 with its two top rushers from the position returning, but Kalen Ballage isn't thinking about statistics or personal goals at all for that matter.

With three new position coaches and a fourth who has switched groups, change is a word that's been used a lot around Arizona State this year.

In light of all that is new around the program, junior running back Kalen Ballage is keeping his attention on the near term. It's spring football, and only spring football. 

"I'm really not too focused on individual goals," Ballage said. "I'm focused on learning the offense and taking it from there. I just want to be a complete football team. I want to be a part of that and help this team reach its goals and that's a national championship."

In 2015, Ballage battled got a slow start to the season due to mono, which forced him to miss the Sun Devils' first three games. Subsequently though, he was productive even through having to rebuild his size, strength and stamina. Ballage totaled 653 rushing yards in 10 games with four touchdowns and had 12 catches for 60 yards. 

It's unclear what the year ahead has in store but the Sun Devils return leading rusher and classmate Demario Richard as well as redshirt freshman Jason Lewis, so it figures to be a position of strength. For now though, they're getting used to some changes and new leadership, which includes first-year offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey and running backs coach John Simon. 

"As far as the offense is going, it's difficult to learn a completely new thing," Ballage said. "You've been in the same system for two years but you start to catch on, that's all you really can do. I really feel like me and Demario and the other running backs in our group can fit into any offense you put us in. We're very coachable, have a lot of different skills and things like that. So just the opportunity to play in something different, learn new skill sets and improve is great.

"[The coaches have] been great. Coach Lindsey is a real laid back guy. He's going to coach you, he's not going to yell at you, scream at you or anything like that. It's an opportunity to play for somebody you really want to play for, kind of a player's coach. [Simon's] been cool. He's got a lot of energy. He's a jitterbug type, keeping up with us, running with us from drill to drill. That's nice, he's young and running around with us."


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