Todd Graham has returned to his Texas roots in hopes of improving a sore spot for Arizona State football in recent years. Multiple outlets are reporting the Sun Devils will hire long-time college coach Phil Bennett as Graham’s new defensive coordinator.
We can confirm via ASU program sources that Todd Graham will hire former Baylor DC Phil Bennett. First reported by Football Scoop.
— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) January 11, 2017
Bennett spent the last six years in Waco working under Art Briles and most recently interim head coach Jim Grobe this past season, leading the Bears to an upset win over Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. The 61-year-old spent six years as SMU’s head coach from 2002-2007 compiling a record of 18-51. His defensive coaching resume’ includes stints at Texas A&M, TCU, Purdue, LSU, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Pittsburgh among others.
He will be tasked with improving one of the worst defenses in the nation the past two seasons under Graham’s play-calling. ASU ranked 97th in 2015 and 124th in scoring defense last fall. The Devils allowed close to 40 points per game. Only Texas Tech (6652) gave up more total yards than ASU (6246).
It remains unclear what the future holds for present ASU defensive coordinator Keith Patterson.