When you see a new coach join a program, it is not uncommon for players to transfer and also to see players who stay have their production decline because the system either doesn’t match their style or is something they do not buy into.
Graham did not have that problem with most of last years’ seniors like Brandon Magee and Deveron Carr and also hasn’t had that problem with most of this year’s seniors as well with Osahon Irabor, Will Sutton, Alden Darby and more.
However Graham did point out one player, who is currently a senior, that had had trouble buying into the system. It has landed him in the dog house for a little over a year now but a lot of that has changed the last two weeks for senior defensive lineman Davon Coleman.
“A guy I really didn’t think that would make it,” said Graham. “I don’t know what changed because all of a sudden his lights come on. I think obviously it means something to him.”
“By no means do I mean he is not a good person or anything,” he added. “The philosophy and all that was not one that wasn’t real conducive and it wasn’t a great fit there at first.”
But as mentioned, something has changed in Coleman over the last couple of weeks. This is a player that had a starting role with the Sun Devils last season and at first this season, saw his playing time diminish because of the emergence of former walk-on Gannon Conway. But Graham has continued to push him and the reality that this senior’s career at ASU is quickly coming to a close could have been what flipped the switch.
“I’ll remind them, I want you to think of every player who’s played here and every one of them who thought were going to play ten years in the NFL and didn’t,” he stated. “You’re going to remember this time. No matter what you do, you’re always going to be a Sun Devil. You’ve only got one place. And every single moment of your senior year, you want to max it out.”
Coleman has answered the call with 29 tackles, 1.5 sacks and five tackles for loss this season. A lot of which has come in his last few games against USC, Notre Dame and Colorado.
“His play on the field, I mean it has been up there,” Graham explained. “All-conference, Pac-12 play the last two weeks.”
Coleman’s impact has even made it’s way onto the offensive side of the ball as well. Lining up at fullback against Colorado last week at the goal line Taylor Kelly went play action and found the defensive lineman turned fullback by the pylon for a touchdown. Graham joked after the game that now other defensive players are going to be asking for their touches around the end zone too.
Davon Coleman and his Sun Devil teammates on defense will however have their work but out for them this week with the nation’s leading rusher Bishop Sankey and the talented Washington Husky offense on Saturday.