Their 2-1 start hasn’t made anyone forget about the weaknesses that the Arizona State Sun Devils still have, particularly on the offensive side of the ball. Their running game needs to step up, but the bigger issue is the lack of production from their wide receivers.
As of right now, the Devils’ leading receiver is Chris Coyle, their tight end. And as impressive as he’s been to watch so far this season, it’s not enough. The only other real production in the passing game has come from D.J. Foster and Jamal Miles, neither of which are true wide receivers.
The Devils lack size in the receiving game, and even though there are juniors and seniors in this wide receivers corps, they do lack actual game experience.
It’s true that the Sun Devils lost a big chunk of their receiving game when they lost Gerell Robinson and Aaron Pflugrad, as well as Mike Willie, who all either went into the draft or graduated. Those losses hurt, but it’s time for the folks left to step their game up and start helping Taylor Kelly out.
The two most likely candidates to step into a role as a no. 1 receiver for this team are Kevin Ozier and Rashad Ross. Neither have the size to be a real vertical threat in the passing game, but this isn’t an offense built around that type of passing.
Ozier has eight receptions on the year, the most of any true wide receiver on the roster. Ross, the senior, has just two on the year, one of which was a 50 yarder in the season opener.
Moving forward, the Devils could survive with Coyle and Miles as their top two receivers. Coyle has the chops to become another in a line of very good ASU tight ends, while Miles caught the ball 60 times last year, though many were out of the backfield.
However, it’s not going to be enough for the Devils if they are to succeed in the passing game on a weekly basis. They need guys like Ozier and Ross, among others, to step up and help out Kelly in the passing game.
Like his declaration to get Cameron Marshall the ball more, Todd Graham has expressed the need for the wide receivers on the roster to step up. We’ll have to see if that leads to anything on Saturday against Utah.