Chris Coyle knows the history.
Now the junior tight end from Westlake Village, California finds himself in the Arizona State football record books along with the two players he grew up watching as a kid in Los Angeles.
Saturday against Illinois, Coyle caught ten passes for 131 yards and two touchdowns in the Devils 45-14 win. The ten grabs ties Miller for most by an ASU tight end, while the 131 receiving yards places his second for a tight end behind Heap who tallied 170 against Arizona in 1999.
“I knew all about Zach Miller and Todd Heap,” Coyle told Brad Cesmat Monday on ‘Big Guy on Sports.’ “I knew they did big things [at ASU] and in the NFL, as well. It’s been my goal to bring that tradition back to ASU and I’m really happy I’m finally getting that chance.
Coyle rarely saw the ball in Dennis Erickson’s offense which focused getting the ball to receivers and running backs, not tight ends. He had just 73 receiving yards last season.
“There was definitely some frustration,” he said. “People just kept telling me to have patience and wait for my time. Everything happens for a reason.
Enter first-year coach Todd Graham who took over for Erickson following the Sun Devils mid-season meltdown which was punctuated by a blowout loss to Boise State in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.
In offensive coordinator Mike Norvell’s offense, Coyle has frequently found himself working against slower, over-matched linebackers.
The results speak for themselves.
Saturday’s big game even caught him by surprise.
“Honestly, I’ve never caught that many passes before in a game in my life,” Coyle explained to Cesmat. “I wasn’t really keeping track of how many passes came my way, but in the end it really added up. It was great. It was dream come true.”
He expects things to get much tougher when ASU travels to Columbia to take on a talented Missouri team who’s coming off a home loss last weekend to 7th-ranked Georgia.