Demario Richard reflects on ASU's Sparky package

Arizona State running back Demario Richard said he enjoys lining up in the Sun Devils' Sparky package because he reads and reacts to defenses well.

Throughout the season, Arizona State junior running back Demario Richard hasn't been involved as a ball carrier in the Sun Devils' most prolific running package.

Since the implementation of a Wildcat formation the Sun Devils' dubbed their "Sparky" package in week two of the season against Texas Tech, Richard has served as a lead blocker for fellow junior Kalen Ballage.

That changed Saturday, though, as Richard handled a shotgun snap as the primary ball carrier in the "Sparky" package and dashed 37 yards around the left edge of Colorado's defense for the Sun Devils' longest run play of the night. 

"I'm just out there doing what I'm coached to do," Richard said. "If they ask me something else, if they ask me to line up at left tackle, left guard, I'm willing to do anything for my teammates, anything for my team, but I don't know. My name was called, my number was called, I had to make a play and that's what I did."

The decision to have Ballage handle snaps from the "Sparky" package from the outset of the season was a mild surprise considering Richard is the Sun Devils' lead back and a better inside zone runner, but the call paid dividends for ASU when Ballage tied the NCAA single-game record with eight touchdowns, including six rushing scores out of the package against Texas Tech. 

Now, with the threat of Richard as a ball carrier out of the formation, the junior said defenses have to prepare for even more looks the Sun Devils can present in the package. 

"It gives a defense nightmares because it's hard to prepare for, because you've got the short little scrappy guy, then you've got Kalen, and he does what he does too so it's hard to prepare for."

Richard said he had experience handling snaps out of a similar formation in high school, and that regardless of how offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey elects to deploy his running backs, he'll do whatever he can to aid an ASU offense that has struggled to run the ball over the past three weeks. 

"I ran it a lot, I did it a lot growing up and I did it a lot in high school so it's pretty easy," Richard said. "With a person like me, the patience that I have, that's a one of a kind package you can run with a guy like me. I'm willing to do anything for the team so if they need me to line up at left guard or tackle or center and snap a long snap on punt, that's what I'm willing to do."


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