Arizona State Football wrapped up 2013 spring practice on Thursday and honored four defensive players with the coveted camouflage No. 42 Pat Tillman jersey.
The jersey had only been donned twice since its inception last fall when safety Alden Darby was given the honor. Defensive end Will Sutton wore it proudly earlier this month, and today's final practice welcomed safety Chris Young and cornerback Osahon Irabor to the vaunted list.
The Sun Devils finished their 15-practice spring schedule, and head coach Todd Graham was happy with what he saw in practice but kept his head about moving forward. Via ArizonaSports.com:
"I feel great about the spring that we had, I'm very proud of our guys and proud of the development on and off the field," he said. "We've put ourselves in position to have a chance by how we practiced this spring, but we still have a lot of work to do and a long way to go."
Last weekend's ASU Football Fan Fest was highlighted by the annual Maroon and Gold Spring Game. The Maroon team won a close game 24-22 as the three quarterbacks threw for five touchdowns, and Marion Grice ran for the sole rushing touchdown from a yard out on the opening drive.
H-back/tight end Chris Coyle was the true star of the game, catching six receptions for 51 yards and two touchdowns for the Gold squad. One of those scores came on a 31-yard strike.
Sutton and Davon Coleman each tallied two sacks, while Marlon Pollard picked off a Taylor Kelly pass and Kipeli Koniseti recovered a Gold team fumble.
Coach Graham was quoted as saying (h/t TheSunDevils.com):
We turned the football over too much. I wanted to see 100% ball security, and getting the defense getting plays. So either way it's not going to work out right. We were mostly doing two's against one's, but we ended doing one's against one's. I think our guys competed well. We have 120 plays, so it was a good scrimmage. We've gotten better as a football team, and the key is depth.
Now that spring practice is complete, Coach Graham can shift his focus to another great Arizona State tradition—Pat's Run.
Graham will be the official starter for the Ninth Annual Run on Saturday, April 20, and Sutton, the Pac-12 Pat Tillman Defensive Player of the Year, will start the Kid's Run.
Pat's widow, Marie, who is also president and co-founder of the Pat Tillman Foundation, said of Graham and Sutton (via AZCentral.com):
Coach Graham has been very active in promoting Pat's football legacy at ASU and also supportive of the foundation's efforts to invest in Tillman Military Scholars nationwide. Will shares Pat's passion for football and dedication to education. I can't think of two more perfect people to help us celebrate the 9th Annual Pat's Run.
Graham is hoping for 100-percent team participation in the run this weekend and completed spring practice early for this reason. Despite the recent tragedy that occurred in Boston this week, the run promoters are not letting it affect the atmosphere or spirit of the run, although security will be heightened.
The 4.2 mile walk/run will begin at 7:05 a.m. MT, and registration is $42 and starts east of Sun Devil Stadium. It will go through the streets of Tempe before finishing on the 42-yard line in the stadium.
In case you weren't aware, Tillman wore No. 42 at Arizona State.
David is the Featured Columnist of Arizona State Athletics for B/R. Follow him on Twitter at @asudave.