Graham ‘very confident’ of Sutton’s return

TEMPE, Ariz. — Following Wednesday’s Arizona State football practice, coach Todd Graham made his most definitive statement yet regarding star defensive tackle Will Sutton’s status against Oregon State.

“Will got some reps today, so I’m very confident that we’re going to have him back,” Graham said. “I feel like we have a good chance for that to happen.”

Graham said before last Saturday’s game against UCLA there was a “chance” Sutton could play but had not previously spoken with such confidence.

Sutton, who suffered a bone bruise on his right knee against Oregon on Oct. 18, has been limited in practice after missing the UCLA game but on Tuesday began jogging and has worked with the first-team defensive line on installation of the game plan  for two straight days.

Despite missing all but one play of the Oregon game and the entire UCLA game, Sutton leads the Sun Devils with 8.5 sacks and ranks fifth nationally with 1.21 per game. He also leads ASU with 14 tackles for loss.

Junior Davon Coleman started in Sutton’s place last week, contributing five tackles and a sack


Junior safety Alden Darby was bestowed last week with a camouflage No. 42 practice jersey, an honor earned by displaying the on- and off-field characteristics of late Sun Devil linebacker Pat Tillman. He was to wear the jersey in practice the rest of the season, so it raised eyebrows when Darby did not don the jersey Tuesday.

The jersey was not taken away, but Darby decided not to wear it because he did not feel he had earned the right after his performance in ASU’s loss to UCLA. He brought the jersey back for Wednesday’s practice.

“I didn’t wear it yesterday because of how I felt about the game and my production in the game,” Darby said. “I wore it today (because) I felt like I had a good practice yesterday. I felt my mind is back clear, I feel like I’m back to Darby.”

Darby was beat for two touchdowns in ASU’s 45-43 loss, and the secondary had its worst game of the season, allowing Brett Hundley to pass for 274 yards. No opposing quarterback had passed for 200 yards against ASU previously.


— Senior defensive lineman Corey Adams has not dressed for practices since late last week and will not play this season due to a lingering back injury.

— ASU’s defense practiced outside Wednesday while the offense spent part of practice inside the Verde Dickey Dome to work with crowd noise blasting from speakers. ASU practices with crowd noise before all road games but has a particularly tough test this week in Corvallis, where the Beavers are undefeated this year and 6-3 in November home games over the past five seasons.

— Junior defensive end Junior Onyeali (shoulder) practiced Wednesday, taking part in installation sessions, which he did not on Tuesday.

— Junior linebacker Steffon Martin (elbow) remained in a brace Wednesday but was out of the green “no-contact” jersey. Running back Marion Grice also shed the green jersey he wore Tuesday.

— Graham said senior right guard Andrew Sampson (ankle) and sophomore offensive lineman/tight end Tyler Sulka (foot) are progressing slower than anticipated. But Graham added that he expects Sampson back against Oregon State.

— Graham was impressed with Sulka’s performance as a blocking tight end against UCLA.