New Opponent, Same Approach for Graham, Sun Devils

Football coaches can be creatures of habit.

So it’s no surprise Arizona State’s Todd Graham isn’t going to break the routine coming off a Pac-12 South title, even after the Sun Devils were exposed in an ugly 62-27 loss to UCLA last week at Sun Devil Stadium.

The Devils (3-1, 0-1) will face their toughest road test this weekend when they play USC at The Coliseum Saturday afternoon in southern California.

“We do what we always do,” Graham told the assembled media at his weekly formal press conference Monday afternoon. “You find out what you’re made of. Last year we went into Stanford and [it] wasn’t very pleasant. How we responded? We came back and won in a big way. That’s what we have to be able to do.”

ASU will focus this week cleaning up their critical errors and mental mistakes which hindered their success against the Bruins. Whether it be missed tackles, assessment errors or poor throws by backup quarterback Mike Bercovici last week was a perfect example of his quickly a game can slip away in the ultra-competitive Pac-12.

The Devils may be facing the Trojans (3-1, 2-0) without the services of starting quarterback Taylor Kelly for the second-straight game. Kelly’s status is unclear following a right foot injury against Colorado.Β 

“We’ll just kinda wait and see,” Graham said following Sunday’s practice. “We’re going to take a look at it Wednesday and see where we’re at.”

With or without Kelly ASU will have their hands full against a Trojans team which already has conference wins over defending Pac-12 champion Stanford and previously unbeaten Oregon State.

“This group of guys, I have a tremendous belief in them,” Graham said Monday. “[I] know how they’re going to respond and excited to head to The [LA] Coliseum on Saturday.”

The Trojans will look to atone for their 62-41 loss in Tempe last season.

Kickoff Saturday is 4:30. Be sure to follow all week for complete pre and post-game coverage from Los Angeles.