#38 Arizona State Football 2013 Preview

Arizona State Sun Devils

Overall Rank: #38
#7 Pac-12

Arizona State Team Page#38 Arizona State Football 2013 PreviewBuy Arizona State Football Tickets

Arizona State has a talented team that can make huge plays on both sides of the ball. Avoiding mistakes and minimizing the big plays that go against them will be the difference between just another bowl game and a serious run at a Pac-12 title. It will not take long to find out if this team is for real. After their opener against Sacramento State, the Sun Devils play Wisconsin, Stanford, USC and Notre Dame the following four weeks.

2012 Record: (8-5, 5-4)
2012 Bowl: Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl vs. Navy (W 62-48)
Coach: Todd Graham (8-5 at Arizona State, 57-34 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Norvell
Defensive Coordinator: Paul Randolph, Chris Ball

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Marion Grice, RB, 679 yards
Passing: Taylor Kelly, QB, 3,039 yards
Receiving: Chris Coyle, TE, 696 yards
Tackles: Chris Young, LB, 82
Sacks: Will Sutton, DT, 13.0
Interceptions: Alden Darby, S, 3

Other Key Returnees: QB Michael Eubank, WR Kevin Ozler, RB D.J. Foster, OL Evan Finkenberg, OL Jamil Douglas, C Kody Koebensky, LB Carl Bradford, DE Davon Coleman, LB Steffon Martin, CB Osahon Irabor

Key Losses: RB Cameron Marshall, WR Rashad Ross, WR Jamal Miles, LB Brandon Magee, S Keelan Johnson

Taylor Kelly stepped into a starting role as a sophomore and had an absolutely amazing season. He threw for 3,040 yards and 29 touchdowns. That alone is impressive. However, Kelly completed a school record 67.1 percent of his pass attempts and only threw nine interceptions. The rest of the backfield is just as dynamic. Marion Grice and D.J. Foster are both breakaway backs who can get down the field in a hurry. Grice led the team with 679 yards on the ground and added 425 yards receiving. In total he accounted for 19 touchdowns. Foster rushed for 493 yards and two scores and was just as dangerous coming out of the backfield as Grice, catching 38 passes for 533 yards and four touchdowns. What Arizona State does best is get into the backfield on defense. Defensive tackle Will Sutton tallied 13.0 sacks and 23.5 tackles-for-loss. Rush linebacker Carl Bradford is also back after adding 11.5 sacks and 20.5 tackles-for-loss. The Sun Devils as a team ranked first in the country in tackles-for-loss and second in sacks. With Jaxon Hood and Davon Coleman flanking Sutton, Arizona State should have little trouble getting into the backfield.

While the front seven does an amazing job disrupting the passer, they are susceptible to the run. The team ranked tenth in in the Pac-12 in rush defense. When the opposing line can push the blitzers behind the play, it can open up huge holes for the running back. Arizona State and Coach Todd Graham want to take that risk, but of course it would be beneficial to keep those big plays to a minimum. The offense and Kelly could again be limited by the lack of receiving threats. Kelly is an accurate passer, but his record breaking completion percentage is a bit misleading. Over half of his completions went to players other than wide receivers. Tight end Chris Coyle is back after leading the team with 57 receptions for 696 yards. Foster and Grice also caught a slew of passes out of the backfield. The Sun Devils must find a couple potent receivers who can at least be a threat to stretch the field. Kevin Ozier, a 6-2 senior, is the most productive receiver returning and he caught just 21 passes. Ozier is a nice red zone target but ASU will be looking for some junior college transfers to get into the mix too.

The Bottom Line:
Over the last few years the Sun Devils offensive line has been a bit up and down. Last year they did a great job paving the way for the run, but allowed 37 sacks. Tackles Jamil Douglas and Evan Finkenberg and center Kody Koebensky do give Arizona State a nice base to build around. The unit should be better this year if they can find some quality depth. With the explosiveness that this team possesses on both sides of the ball, they will certainly be fun to watch. But that same dynamic could lead to a surprisingly good season.

Projected Bowl: New Mexico Bowl

2012 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 205.38 (25th in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 259.15 (44, 6)
Total Offense: 464.54 (25, 4)
Scoring Offense: 38.38 (14, 2)
Rushing Defense: 182.85 (81, 10)
Pass Defense: 167.92 (3, 1)
Total Defense: 350.77 (27, 2)
Scoring Defense: 24.31 (40, 5)
Turnover Margin: 0.46 (38, 5)
Sacks: 4.00 (2, 2)
Sacks Allowed: 2.92 (102, 7)

Madness 2014 NFL Draft Rankings:
#33 Will Sutton

Madness 2013 Recruit Rankings:
#201 Chans Cox


See All College Sports Madness Top 104 Football Previews