Though their 2-1 start isn’t anything to shake your head at, the Arizona State Sun Devils still have plenty to work on as this season progresses. Most of the items on their to-do list of improvements are on the offensive side of the ball, and perhaps none more than getting this running game going.
The Devils haven’t had consistent success running the ball through these first three games. They also haven’t had anyone really managing to get consistent carries. Right now, quarterback Taylor Kelly leads the team in carries, with 26, though that’s not entirely by design.
There are no shortage of playmakers on the offensive side of the ball that they can hand the rock off to. A crowded backfield has led to five players currently having at least 20 carries on the season. And while it’s nice to have a bit of a committee, it might be time for the Devils to start making Cameron Marshall more of a focal point in this offense.
Todd Graham said after last weekend’s loss that one of his goals moving forward was to get Marshall the ball more. Marshall’s powerful running style gives him the skill set to be a featured back in this offense, but we haven’t really seen it to this point, as he had just four carries on Saturday.
Last season, Marshall carried the ball over 200 times and crossed the 1,000-yard mark. Even better, he reached the endzone 18 times. He’s also capable of being a receiver out of the backfield. If the Devils want to be consistent on offense, they have to return to the balance we saw back in that first game, and it starts with Marshall.
I know there are playmakers on offense that Graham wants to get the ball to, namely D.J. Foster, as well as Michael Eubank and his running ability from under center. But the Devils need to get Marshall the ball more often moving forward. Graham knows it, and I’ll bet we’ll see it this Saturday.