Early in head coach Todd Graham's tenure at Arizona State, the Sun Devils became a force within the Pac-12 in large part because of the team's impressive turnover margin.
Entering the sixth year of Graham's tenure, the Sun Devils are still known for their turnovers, however, it's the off-the-field turnover of assistant coaches that is now defining the ASU program.
On Saturday morning, ESPN's Brett McMurphy reported that offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey will depart ASU to accept the same job at Auburn, where he served previously as an offensive analyst under head coach Gus Malzahn. Lindsey's departure comes just 10 days ahead of National Signing Day, and means the Sun Devils will have a different offensive coordinator for the third straight season.
Lindsey is the fourth different offensive coach to leave ASU this offseason, as offensive line coach Chris Thomsen accepted a job at Texas Christian, tight ends coach Del Alexander became the wide receivers coach at Notre Dame, and wide receivers coach Jay Norvell accepted the head coaching position at Nevada.
After finishing with a sub .500 record and the worst pass defense in the country for the second straight season, Graham was also forced to hire a new defensive coordinator, turning over control of the ASU defense to former Baylor coordinator Phil Bennett.
Per a source close to the development, Lindsey was not initially one of Auburn's primary targets for its vacant offensive coordinator position, but he emerged as the leading target over the past few days after Tigers' head coach Gus Malzahn narrowed his search. In leaving ASU and accepting the same position at Auburn, Lindsey will receive a significant raise, per a source.
With all of the coaching turnover that took place on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, a source close to the development told SunDevilSource that Lindsey helped Graham locate and target ASU's new offensive assistants, providing significant input in the hiring of wide receivers coach Rob Likens and offensive line coach Josh Henson.
In Lindsey's lone season at ASU, the Sun Devils finished sixth in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (33.3 points per game), ninth in the Pac-12 in total offense (390.8 yards per game), 10th in the Pac-12 in rushing offense (131.5 yards per game), sixth in the Pac-12 in passing offense (259.2 yards per game) and last in the Pac-12 in sacks allowed (41).
Following the departure of his predecessor, Mike Norvell, a four-year offensive coordinator at ASU who left to become the head coach at Memphis last offseason, Lindsey oversaw ASU's first quarterback competition since 2012, as then-sophomore Manny Wilkins beat out Brady White and Bryce Perkins for the starting job. However, after injuries left the depth chart depleted, the Sun Devils were forced to use true freshman Dillon Sterling-Cole last season, as the team started three different quarterbacks (Wilkins, White and Sterling-Cole) for the first time in a season since 2009.
With more uncertainty at the quarterback position heading into the 2017 season, ASU signed Alabama transfer and former five-star recruit Blake Barnett during its mid-year signing period, and has received a commitment from local Basha (Chandler) quarterback, four-star prospect Ryan Kelley. As the Sun Devils' offensive coordinator, Lindsey also served as the team's quarterbacks coach and played significant roles in the recruitments of both players.