Todd Graham: 'Our guys are pissed off. I'm pissed off'
Posted by: Chris Vannini on Tuesday February 21, 2017
Todd Graham has made a series of changes, and he says he’s pissed off coming off the worst season of his head coaching career, motivated to turn it around.
It was a busy offseason for the Sun Devils and for Graham. There are five new assistants after a myriad of departures and changes. Here’s what the 2017 staff looks like.
Since the 2016 season ended, wide receivers coach Jay Norvell became Nevada head coach, offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey took the same job at Auburn, tight ends coach DelVaughn Alexander left for Notre Dame, offensive line coach Chris Thomsen went to TCU, and Joe Seumalo won’t return in the same role.
Graham also hired Oklahoma State analyst Josh Henson as offensive line coach, but he quickly returned to OK State in a full-time role.
“In the landscape of college football today, you’d better be prepared,” Graham said in a AZCentral video. “In this process, either way, if you experience success, it’s going to happen, guys get head coaching jobs. If you hire good people, other people seek them out. We’re going to hire good people. We also want guys committed to being here, committed to what we’re doing. You look at any school in our league, it’s very competitive, and it’s a constant shuffling. You have to be prepared for that.”
But Graham says the Sun Devils continue to have the same identity, even with new coaches. He’s a big part of the defense, and he says the offense will continue to be 11 personnel spread no-huddle.
Last season was just the second time in 11 years as a head coach that Graham didn’t reach a bowl game. The Sun Devils started 5-1 and finished 5-7. Since winning the Pac-12 South in 2013, their conference record has gone from 8-1 to 6-3 to 4-5 to 2-7.
So when Graham talks about turning things around, he says the players and coaches in the program are angry and hungry.
“I try to avoid certain words, but our guys are pissed off. I’m pissed off, to go to work,” Graham said. “Ray Lewis has a quote, ‘I’m pissed off for greatness.' I think our guys are motivated, and I know I’m motivated. It’s because we care about this program and care about where it’s at.
“We’re playing in one of the most competitive leagues, with the most parity. Every year in the (Pac-12) South since I’ve been here, somebody different has won the league. Every year I’ve been here. We want to get this back to where it was, and that’s competing for championships.”
ASU opens spring ball on March 3.