What they’re saying about Todd Graham, Oregon-ASU matchup

Thursday’s matchup between 3rd-ranked Oregon (6-0, 3-0) and 23rd-ranked Arizona State (5-1, 3-0) is arguably the most anticipated game for the Sun Devils in the last 15 years.

Over the past several days several current and past ASU players, as well as national analysts have joined Brad Cesmat on ‘Big Guy on Sports’ to share their thoughts on the game and the progress Todd Graham has made transforming the program.

Below are some of their thoughts leading up to tomorrow night’s game at Sun Devil Stadium.

ESPN broadcaster and college football analyst Rece Davis on Todd Graham: “I think he’s very excited about the direction and potential about the Arizona State program. I think for many years people have referred to this program as a sleeping giant with an opportunity for big things and I think Todd can accomplish that. He’s a guy who’s always full of every and positive thinking.”

Pac-12 Network analyst Rick Neuheisel on the game being played in Tempe: “A full house at Sun Devil Stadium is worth some points. I remember when Nebraska came there [in 1996] when Bruce Snyder was still at the helm and they took down the Cornhuskers 19-0. It ended up being a magical year for the Sun Devils. I would not be shocked to see that raucous environment and who knows what happens when that takes place.”

Senior cornerback Deveron Carr on what it means to play Oregon: “We have to bring out A-game. They’ve been the top team for awhile. We work hard just like they work hard. We’re all on scholarship. We’re all Division-I athletes. It all comes down to the game plan, the discipline, the team, and who wants to win the most.”

Former ASU quarterback Jake Plummer on Graham: “You just sense an energy that’s coursing through that guy. A love of the game. An intense passion for motivating his players. Some coaches put their personality and their image in front of the team. It seems to me like he knows he’s only going to be as good as his players. A good coach does that…you play hard, you play with passion.”

ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard on how ASU matches up with Oregon: “Up in Eugene, I think [Oregon] beats anybody in college football. Get them out of Eugene we have a lot to learn. I hope [Sun Devil Stadium] is loud and rockin’ like it can be. Make it hostile and make it tough because [Oregon freshman quarterback] Marcus Mariota did not have a great game against Washington State in a very comfortable setting at Century Link Field [in Seattle] with half the stands Oregon fans. Let’s see how that defense can handle an up-tempo team. If I’m an Arizona State fan I’m very thankful that game is in Tempe. I think that does level some of the playing field.

Former ASU quarterback Danny White on what impresses him most about Graham: “It started when he took them up to Camp Tontazona. He’s like a miniature Frank Kush. It’s an old-school approach with unbelievable discipline. The thing that has impressed me most is the lack of penalties. How do you come in and start a new program with a bunch of new players, brand new playbook…they just don’t have any penalties. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a new program with as few penalties as they’ve had.

Sophomore starting quarterback Taylor Kelly on the Ducks: “I saw them [play] on our bye week I watched their [game]. I’m excited. We just have to keep our focus and play ball the way we can play and not let the distractions get to us.”

Sports Illustrated college football insider Stewart Mandel on the impact of Todd Graham: “If you look at the four new coaches that came into the Pac-12 this year he got the least buzz by far compared to Mike Leach, Rich Rodriguez and Jim Mora, Jr. Who’s had the most impact of those four coaches? Him. It’s impressive how much he’s reinvented the culture in the program in a short amount of time.”