Once again Nick Saban’s name is again being touted as a possible defector to the Texas Death Star machine, but there’s one coach, his peers consider a devil that Texas can cross off its catalog of candidates. Arizona State’s Todd Graham is contractually barred from leading the Lone Star State’s flagship university. However, this isn’t a clause in Graham’s contract. On Tuesday, it was announced that Arizona State athletic director Steve Patterson would be adding another zero to the end of his salary to assume the same position at Texas.
Graham probably be a longshot, but the speculation isn’t asinine. Graham’s coaching roots extend back to his beginnings coaching Texas high school football. Arizona State may not be in the same altitude as Oregon and Baylor, but they’ve started breathing in the same thin air.
More importantly, he’s a nomad that has coached at four schools in seven years and is likely more open to making the transition than Briles. In the meantime, he’s in the midst of facilitating Arizona State’s resurgence. However, a clause in Patterson’s contract prevents him from recruiting Arizona State staff to join him in Austin.
Arizona State’s football program has won just four conference championships in 36 years, but it’s not as if the bone structure isn’t there for the Sun Devils to start knocking on the door to the BCS someday soon. In the pre-BCS epoch, the Jake Plummer-led, Bruce Synder coached Sun Devils came seconds away from clinching a share of the ’96 national championship.
Snyder set the bar for success at Arizona State high. Every coach Arizona State has cycled through over the last 17 years has failed to clear it.
Arizona State’s personnel includes the mobile Taylor Kelly, D.J. Foster and Marion Grice, who leads the nation in touchdowns scored.
Aside from Baylor, not many can boast an offense that’s still pumping points onto the scoreboard as efficiently as the Sun Devils. Arizona State’s offense is hotter than Mack Brown’s sauna-like coaching conditions for the next four weeks after scoring 50 points in three consecutive weeks against Pac-12 competition and last week Kelly added seven touchdowns to his resume in a win over Washington State.
November is when coaches build their reputations. The Sun Devils are currently king of the Pac-12 North mountain with a gauntlet schedule that includes Utah, Oregon State, No. 19 UCLA and Arizona.
Every year there’s a new program that’s on the rise with a stadium construction site to match. However, they don’t all stay put. Someone’s got to kickstart the coaching carousel. Get to know Todd Graham. You may be hearing a lot more about him soon.