It's hard to argue that any coach talked a better game than Arizona State’s Todd Graham during Pac-12 media days in late July.
During most of his session with the media, Graham talked about instilling the desire to win into his players and making sure that’s all they thought about.
“Well, our program's about winning championships, period,” Graham said during media day. “Our motto this year is unfinished business. You see it on my wristband here. We're one game shy last year, and we don't want to be Pac‑12 South Champions. We want to be Pac‑12 Champions, Rose Bowl Champions, and obviously, win every game. That's the standard. What I like is our players expect to win. How you do that is winning every day. Talked a little about that what our guys are doing on the field, off the field, in the classroom gives me a lot of confidence.
One way Graham is making sure his Sun Devils keep their eye on the prize is by putting it on the back of their helmets.
Each Sun Devil player has a sticker depicting the Pac-12 Championship trophy on the back of their domes so that when they look at the back of each other’s heads, that championship is in the front of their minds.
It’s just another one of Graham’s visual ploys to make sure his players have the right mindset heading into a tough Pac-12 season. He's already endeared players with bracelets that champion the tenacity of late linebacker Pat Tillman.
The Sun Devils won the Pac-12 South last season, but were soundly beaten by Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game. If the College Football Playoff had been in place last year, the winner of that Pac-12 championship game could have made a case for entrance into the four-team bracket.
This season, Graham doesn’t want to have those “what ifs?”
“Around our offices now, our players expect to win, and that is a different deal,” Graham said. “So really, that's nothing that‑‑ that's how you want to progress. Year three should be your best year. This is when it all should come together and I have a lot of confidence that our team will.”
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