Arizona State Football: 3 Burning Questions for the Sun Devils' Spring Game

Burning Questions for Arizona State's Spring Game

4/15/14 in NCAAF   |   Nick_Kaminsky   |   29 respect

The Arizona State Sun Devils had a very successful 2013 campaign but unfortunately experienced a sour way to end the season, falling to Texas Tech 37-23 in the Holiday Bowl and looking bad doing it.
Blog Photo - Arizona State Football: X Burning Questions for the Sun Devils' Spring Game

Despite the final game, the Sun Devils were still able to win 11 games and the Pac-12 South title—which most of the country didn’t see coming.
 
Head coach Todd Graham knows he has a different football team in 2014, but is confident that the recent success the program had will breed a winning environment.
 
"You know we're looking forward to it, I'm really excited about the attitude, the work ethic, the maturity, the leadership, winning breeds winning and I'm really, really excited about this football team, and how they're going to develop, and looking forward to this spring continuing to get better fundamentally," Graham stated before spring practice, according to houseofsparky.com.
 
As most Sun Devil fans know, the offense could be deadly this season. But there are some serious shoes to fill on defense.
 
With the spring game coming up, let’s take a look at some of the burning questions Arizona State faces for 2014:
 
1. Can the Defense Replace NINE Starters?
 
The Sun Devils not only lost nine former starters, but six of those players were first-team or second-team All-Pac-12 (two others were honorable mention). So is it really possible for this defense to be effective this season?
 
The answer to that is still unclear, but Graham certainly has high hopes for one player on defense. Defensive end Marcus Hardison came to Arizona State from junior college last season and didn’t make the major impact the coaches were hoping for.
 
"We're leaning on (Hardison) big time. We didn't transition him as fast as we usually do, you know with JC guys," Graham said to CBSSports.com. "He had a good year, not a great year. He's going to have a great, great year next year."
 
2. Will This Offense Be the Best in the Pac-12?
 
Unlike the defense, the offense returns seven starters, including quarterback Taylor Kelly, who is entering his third season as the starting signal caller. Kelly has thrown for 6,705 yards and 57 touchdowns in his career at Arizona State and he certainly has weapons for his senior year. Jaelen Strong registered 75 receptions for 1,122 yards and seven touchdowns and could easily be an All-American receiver. De’Marieya Nelson is looking to replace Chris Coyle at tight end, so it doesn’t seem like the Sun Devils will miss a beat.
 
Graham has no secrets about his expectations for this offense.
 
"Our offense should score every time they have the ball," Graham told ESPN.com. "We're deadly; our offensive line is doing a tremendous job up front. We're running the football better than we ever have before." 

As long as there are no injuries, this offense should be among the best in the country.
 
3. Will the Special Teams Be Improved?
 
Arizona State was last in the Pac-12 in punting in 2013 and the rest of the special teams' statistics were in the middle of the pack. Graham has made it clear that he will be much more involved with special teams in 2014.
 
He even singled out the special teams play in his opening statement after the team’s loss to Texas Tech.
 
“We have a lot of things to work on special teams, that will be dealt with immediately and that will be something I take a personal interest in,” Graham said. “That has killed our team. We've lost three ballgames this year because of that.” 
 
Yes I’ve simply covered each unit of the team, but it really is that simple for the Sun Devils in 2014. If this defense is able to be somewhat average and the special teams can rebound, the offense may be able to carry the team a long way. 
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