BN: Kelly has been starting so long, UCLA fans aren't that familiar with Mike Bercovici. What can you tell us about him?
HOS: Bercovici isn't the dual-threat player that Kelly is. Bercovici can run if needs to, as just about any college quarterback can, but if he needs to break the pocket and scramble, something went wrong. He's got an arm on him, so the passing game may be more heavily relied upon, especially to D.J. Foster coming out of the backfield.
BN: How big of a factor is the backup QB going to be in the rushing game because Taylor Kelly's legs have been a huge factor in ASU's success on offense against UCLA?
HOS: Bercovici won't tally up 100 yards on the run. Thankfully for ASU, the emergence of D.J. Foster means that the run game will be there from the running back position, but probably not from the quarterback. That being said, the offense is centered around spreading the field and using option plays, and I wouldn't expect that to change.
BN: UCLA is the focus of The Drive this year. What were the positives and negatives of being one of the teams last year focused on?
HOS: From what we've heard from the coaches since the show ended, the number one thing that it certainly helped with was recruiting. A lot of recruits were able to watch on TV and see Graham coach or the way the players went about their business and say to themselves that they wanted to be a part of that program at ASU. While it's unclear how many more recruits it brought in, it definitely created a bigger buzz around the program. Another welcome surprise was the high production quality.
Negatives include cameras following the team everywhere and maybe a recruit or two got turned off from the program as well. The cameras obviously weren't a distraction (see the Sun Devils' success last year) but the positives outweighed the negatives by far and I know fans liked it too
BN: How are the replacements on defense coming along after losing 7 defensive starters from 2013?
HOS: It's been a slow adjustment to put it in nice terms. There have been some positives, safety Jordan Simone for instance was been superb, but some of the players who were expected to jump into leadership roles on the field haven't really done so. Jaxon Hood was supposed to be Will Sutton 2.0, but hasn't had nearly the impact Sutton had.
BN: How has DJ Foster stepped up to having to shoulder almost the entire load after losing Marion Grice at running back?
HOS: A lot of ASU people, myself included, thought Foster was the most talented back on the team last year. Not to take anything away from Grice, but the Sun Devils have waited a few year to watch Foster take center-stage and it's a sight to behold now that he has. He's the real deal.
BN: Does the weak non-conference schedule worry Arizona State at all heading into Pac-12 play?
HOS: I wouldn't think so. ASU only had two nonconference games (the third coming against Notre Dame in November) and they were necessary. The offense is what was expected, but if the defense was thrown into, well, UCLA, as the first game of the season, it would have gotten flattened. Now, after two nonconference gimmies and basically another one against Colorado, then a bye week, ASU couldn't have asked for anything better.