ASU Struck Big With Offseason Hires
By William Boor
Almost everything Todd Graham has done during his two year tenure with Arizona State has been a positive for the program.
After two impressive seasons culminating in a pair of bowl berths, Graham seemingly has pulled the right strings again this offseason.
After a disappointing end to the 2013 season, Graham and the Sun Devils have hired Keith Patterson and Patrick Suddes to bolster the staff for 2014.
Patterson, a 12-year coaching veteran, has joined the Sun Devils as defensive coordinator, linebackers and defensive special teams coach.
Patterson spent the last two seasons at West Virginia but has a long-term relationship with Graham. Patterson and Graham have coached together before and were also college roommates at East Central University.
While it will be interesting to see how all the dynamics play out with the new coaches and their roles, the one thing that is certain is that ASU is placing more of an emphasis on special teams.
To put it bluntly, the Sun Devils special teams were horrendous in 2013.
The hire of Patterson and the reshuffling of responsibilities throughout the coaching staff should help improve ASU's special teams in 2014, and that is a much needed improvement for the Sun Devils.
The Sun Devils hired Suddes as the assistant director for recruiting and the most intriguing aspect of this hire is Suddes' past.
Suddes comes to ASU having already worked under a pair of highly distinguished coaches, Nick Saban and Mack Brown.
In 2013, Suddes served as the director of player personnel at Texas, but he spent the previous six seasons at Alabama and served as the associate director of football operations for five of those seasons.
Bonus Hire: Ray Anderson
Ray Anderson isn't joining the football staff, but he is certainly the most important hire the ASU athletics department made this offseason.
Anderson, the former executive vice president of football operation for the NFL, is now ASU's athletics director and university vice president.
Despite having limited experience in college athletics, Anderson has a distinguished past and will be instrumental in ASU's stadium renovation project.
With a new AD and a pair of new coaches, it is clear ASU is taking the football program seriously. Graham has accomplished a lot in two seasons, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
With a young defense and tough competition in the Pac-12 it will be tough for ASU to repeat as South Division champions, but the type of dynasty Graham wants to build cannot be accomplished in one offseason.
The foundation has been laid and Graham and his staff appear to be on track for something big in Tempe.