Meeting the local media before the start of his third set of spring practices at Arizona State, coach Todd Graham reiterated his team's mantra for the 2014 season. "We have unfinished business," Graham said. "That's a Pac-12 championship. Anything less than that's disappointing." But Pac-12 championships aren't won in the spring, at least not literally. So when ASU takes to the practice fields Tuesday morning they'll have another goal: laying the 2014 foundation. "We've spent a lot of time with our coaches developing relationships with our players," Graham said. "Coach-to-player, player-to-player, and developing what our identity is and embracing that identity. I'm excited about that." The identity forming for the 2014 season is especially important after the departure of 12 starters from the 2013 team that went 10-4 and won the Pac-12 South. With veterans like Alden Darby, Chris Coyle and Will Sutton gone, new leaders must emerge to help mold the identity of a team with high internal expectations -- Graham also says anything less than 11 wins will be a disappointment. Thus, spring practice will be less about position battles and filling out a depth chart, a particularly difficult task anyway with 24 recruits -- many of them with good odds to contribute immediately -- not arriving until the fall. As for relationships, Graham recently shared at a coaching clinic that ASU coaches generally don't have football-related responsibilities on Mondays and Fridays during the spring, giving them the opportunity to bond with their players in non-football ways. But as much as spring practice gives the Sun Devils the chance to start to develope their identity, they must also develop on the field.
ASU seeks identity, foundation in spring ball
Fox Sports | Mar 18