ASU football has new palpable energy in 1st practice under Shaun Aguano

TEMPE — There was a new palpable energy in the air during Tuesday’s practice for the Arizona State Sun Devils football team.

With it being the first under new interim head Coach Shaun Aguano, there was a noticeably faster tempo to the training session in addition to some new music being played as well.

“I would probably say it’s what we need right now,” redshirt fifth-year senior Captain linebacker Kyle Soelle said after practice. “Coach Aguano comes from a winning program, he knows how to win Championships — obviously at a lower level — but I still believe in that Championship pedigree and we’re going to follow his lead.”

Aguano said on Monday that he wasn’t going to make any drastic changes, but he would be putting his thumbprint on some things over the next few weeks.

One of the most evident switch-ups on the practice field was the new no walking rule, which requires all players to run on and off the field, to and from all drills and during period transitions.

“Today personally I believe is what we needed,” senior Captain fullback Case Hatch said. “We were running around on the field, off the field, switching out personnel, running off and it was a change that we kind of needed. Guys were tired by the end of practice. I was tired bending over trying to catch a breath. But we were pushed today and that’s something we needed to do.”

However, not all players are taking the new interim head coach’s changes in practice as well as the senior captains did on Tuesday.

“Whenever there’s an interim head coach, the leaders of the team — if you’re worth anything — have to kick it up a notch in your leadership and step up,” senior captain left guard LaDarius Henderson said. “Coach Aguano is doing a great job. I know he’s only been the head coach for 24 hours or something like that. But this has been a good 24-hour start for him, so we just need to help him as he’s helping us move forward.”

In fact, at the end of practice, Aguano brought the team together and addressed that he could hear the bickering on the sidelines.

The new interim head coach wasted no time laying out how the remainder of the season was going to go at ASU’s Bill Kajikawa football practice fields.

“He says, ‘That’s good. I want that pushback because I know that I’m not going to change. No matter what happens on the sideline, we’re going to keep going forward with this. This is how it’s going to be, you better get used to it,’” Hatch explained. “I love it. We need to be driven that way.”

Another noticeable change from how former head Coach Herm Edwards operated at practice was how involved Aguano was in individual position drills.

“He was with the defense, offense, special teams, Scout team, ones, twos — he was everywhere,” Henderson said.

“We made a lot of changes today that are long-term wins, so we definitely won today,” Henderson added. “We can’t win the season, win Saturday today. We just have to win today and I feel like with the changes we made, we definitely got to do that.”

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