Arizona State is actually in an enviable position in that they have several options even quarterback, even considering that their three-year starter in Taylor Kelly has recently departed. Bercovici has a few relief performances under his belt, and he has looked great. The Sun Devils also have one of the most highly touted freshman quarterbacks in the nation in local standout Bryce Perkins. The future does indeed look bright at this position. The offense may look a bit differently this year with more of a focus on the running game. They have three running backs that should perform nicely in Demrio Richard, Kalen Ballage, and Gump Hayes. If the Sun Devils have a weakness on offense it would be at the receiver position, which is another reason to focus a bit on the running game during Bercovici’s time at the helm.
On defense, coach Todd Graham has recruited well and there should not be much a drop off at all this season. The team now has about five different linebackers that they can easily rotate in the lineup interchangeably. Sophomores Christian Sam and DJ Calhoun are two players on the defense to lookout for, as they should have a breakout season. They are quick are really fighting for a starting position. Three starters, featuring James Johnson, will be returning in the secondary. There is a bit of concern in the pass rushing department up front as one of their recruits, Davon Durant, has been suspended from the team indefinitely. Coach Graham is not one to back off, however, so the Sun Devils should still look to blitz in a variety of formations, which does often result in long down the field plays for the opposition, so the defense will need to tweak that a bit.
All in all, if the Sun Devils can by one of the toughest opening months in the nation, they should be poised another great season, and even contend for the Pac-12 South division. Being in the desert has its advantages late in the season, as three out of the five last games are at home, so if they can make it to that stretch with only one loss, look for them to compete for a title.
Graham will look to solidify his program as a power in the Pac 12 and a contender for the playoffs this season. But it will be a rough road for the Sun Devils as they face Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, and Oregon. If the Sun Devils expect to shock the world and contend for a spot in the college football playoffs, they’ll have to prove it every time they step on the field.
Courtesy of Kaboom Magazine