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November 14, 2012
Arizona native Kody Koebensky is finally getting his time to shine after three years at Arizona State.
A lot of attention has been paid to 6-foot-3, 285 pound junior offensive lineman since the end of last season and the departure of center Garth Gerhart. After not starting a game prior to this season, Koebensky has started all 10 thus far in 2012.
"I learned from Garth that 90 percent of this game is mental," Koebensky said. "He taught me a lot, like how to study film, what the safeties' role is and things like that and what it means. Also his technique, watching his techniques in and out everyday and watching him do his job well was a big help."
Koebensky turned heads at the start of fall camp with his physical transformations. He cut his body fat percentage significantly and added quite a bit of strength, which compliments his length and broadness.
"(Strength coach Shawn) Griswold has put us in a great position through his workouts. We have been working our butts off," Koebensky said.
Koebensky's hard work paid off not only with his physique but also his game skills as he's been able to hold off backup redshirt freshman Mo Latu, a younger, more athletic player. He has become much more reliable with his snaps and technique.
"Having the starting spot now means everything," Koebensky said. "I grew up here and I have always wanted to play for ASU so it is huge to be able to play in front of my hometown.
"Being more versatile has come from my knowledge of the game and how to play the position. At center it has helped me a lot, we learn how to play guard, and we learn what all the guards are doing, what all the tackles are doing. We learn the whole scheme of the offense -- it is mostly the mental part."
With a new coach and a new offensive scheme under his belt, Koebensky can look back and compare where they are now as a group and team to where they have come from.
"The biggest differences in the offensive line would say would be our togetherness and the cohesion," Koebensky said. "Coach (Bob) Connelly has been great, he is very knowledgeable. He has been at some of the biggest programs and has won champions. He always respects you and he never puts you down. I really like him, he is a great coach."
Being a first year starter it would have been easy for Koebensky to take a background role, but he said he's worked to be a leader.
"The biggest obstacle overall would just be mentally hanging in there," he said. "Film study-wise, just knowing the defense and just putting in the time -- two or three hours a day in the film room, is the most important and the hardest thing to do.
"I try to take it upon myself to try and be the best I can be for my team," said Koebensky.
ASU coach Todd Graham said Washington Stat'e so-called Air Raid offense is difficult to simulate in practice and his scout team didn't do a great job of it in practice Tuesday.
"You can't disregard the run," Graham said. But they can flat throw the football. No. 1 passing offense in our conference."
Graham said he would like to see his offense avoid going backwards on early downs, which has become a eye-raising tendency of late.
"Really big focus on taking care of the football and no negative yardage plays on offense," he said.
With Saturday being the last time ASU's seniors will play at Sun Devil Stadium, Graham said it's a subject they've spent a lot of time talking about recently as a program.
"I've been talking to them about it for three weeks, four weeks," Graham said. "I can still remember like it was yesterday, my last (college) practice. I remember my last game, I remember the clock counting down on the field. I think it's very important that me and the coches and other players who are not seniors respect that. We've got five practices left and we're trying to get them 15 more."
Senior linebacker Brandon Magee when asked about what Saturday will mean to him by a group of reporters, was overcome with emotion and walked away from the interview.
After experimenting on the defensive side of the ball, running back Deantre Lewis and receiver J.J. Holliday has moved back to offense.