Q&A with coach Jamie Christian

With a lot of the talent returning to the Sun Devils this year, the tight ends and special teams units have a lot to prove after overcoming injuries and poor play the season before. Tight ends/special teams coach Jamie Christian is optimistic his units will rebound under the new offense and especially with the return of placekicker Thomas Weber.

DD: How would you assess the tight end group at this point?

JC: "I think they're doing a good job. Their role has been a lot more limited this year, but they're doing a solid job. They are working hard, staying focused. I look forward to seeing them get out there against Portland State and get rolling."

DD: What adjustments have the tight ends had to make to fit this new offense?

JC: "Some of the stuff is the same, they just aren't in as much, so they have to stay focused when it's time for them to come get out there and be able to execute. Their plays are for the most part the same, maybe a little more route-running and catching the ball then last year."

DD: Chris Coyle has had a good camp catching the ball, but looks to still improve on his blocking, how would you assess him right now?

JC: "He actually really surprised me with his blocking. He's only 225 right now but he'll mix it up. He's doing a good job. Right now we really haven't asked him to do a lot of blocking. Those other guys are our blockers, he's more of our receiver but when he is in there blocking he does a good job."

DD: Trevor Kohl has had a quiet camp, how would you rate his skills right now?

JC: "I think big things will happen for him. He's had a quiet camp but if you watch him on film everyday he always does his job and he's a great blocker, good route runner, great hands. I look forward to him having a real good season."

DD: Just to round out the group, what about Max Smith and Steven Figueroa?

JC: "Both of those guys are working hard, working to get better. They are still kind of young: Figueroa is a little older, Max is young, so they've just got to mature, understand their role, and be able to contribute when their time is called."

DD: Do you expect Thomas Weber to be back in his 2007 form?

JC: "I like to think so. He's kicking the ball well. He's on an even keel right now and I look forward to him having a good year; I think he will. He's kicking great and he'll be good."

DD: Do you think Trevor Hankins can repeat last season's performance?

JC: "I definitely think he can. He just has to stay focused. Our protection is going to be better this year, and he can be relaxed and more than anything I want him to work on getting the ball off. Getting the ball off because he's got a strong enough leg it'll go where he wants it to. If he doesn't think too much he'll be fine."

DD: Who have been your primary kick and punt returners and have been pleased with them so far?

JC: "I've been real pleased. It looks like we have a lot of guys that we can go to. Jamal Miles I think is going to be electric. (Kyle)Middlebrooks is going to be a good guy; Deantre Lewis, we've got Omar Bolden back there on kickoff return and LeQuan Lewis. We've got guys we can put back there and it's always good to have a lot of guys you can use."

DD: What do the tight end and special teams groups have to do to be successful this year?

JC: "They just have to stay focused, work hard, stay locked into coaching and I think we'll take them where they need to go."

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