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Chip Lindsey may be more valuable to ASU’s success than Kalen Ballage

The Sun Devils literally rolled over the Texas Tech defense, a tradition like no other.

NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Arizona State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports


Kalen Ballage scored eight touchdowns and tied the NCAA single-game record in this category, en route to become one of last Saturday’s stars.

The entire country probably heard for the first about the junior running back. A special player and even more outstanding athlete. Not everyone can reach the end-zone eight separate times within the same game.

Kalen Ballage did. But he received help from the sideline.

ASU offensive coordinator Chip Lindsey dug deep in the playbook and unveiled the ‘Sparky’ package against the Red Raiders.

This play was definitely the deal-breaker for the Sun Devils. Over and over and over... and over again.

House of Sparky’s Kaelen Jones perfectly illustrated how this specific play worked and why it was so effective. But the success of the play went further than the points scored by Kalen Ballage.

Unlike his predecessor, Chip Lindsey sticked to this lucrative play in the red-zone and lightning kept on striking on the Texas Tech defense.

The ASU fanbase became tired of Mike Norvell because the inability to score in the red-zone grew into a weekly tragedy. The coaching stiffen offense was not particularly unpredictable, nor very effective when ASU reached the red-zone.

Chip Linsey made it pretty obvious within two games in his tenure with the Sun Devils.

Yes, I know, the awful Texas Tech defense was playing on the opposite side of the field. But Chip Lindsey’s creativity and smartness mixed with Kalen Ballage’s abilities made the difference.

The new ASU play-caller spotted the biggest weakness in the opposing defense, and then rubbed salt in the wound endlessly. This is, in essence, a great coaching job.

This ‘Sparky’ formation is only the tip of ASU offensive iceberg.

Indeed, quarterback Manny Wilkins is swimming in clear water despite very limited experience. True freshman wide receiver N’Keal Harry is having a superb start of career. Running back Demario Richard keeps running with the same success he encountered last year.

Although, the most notable improvement could be attributed to Kalen Ballage.

He is, today, the NCAA leading scorer (54) thanks to his 9 touchdowns from scrimmage after two games. It shouldn’t come as a surprise. But what is probably more obvious is the way Chip Lindsey uses him.

He is putting his running back in a position to show off his athletic abilities and thrive. That’s a pretty smart approach. Let the talent do the talk.

But my little finger tells me Kalen Ballage will not be the only ASU player to have a huge (I mean, HUGE) game in the near future. Chip Lindsey seems to be smart enough to found the special trait that defines another player and choose this playmaker to pick on his opponent on a specific game.

That is probably why Chip Lindsey may be more valuable than Kalen Ballage.

Football is a game of match-ups. Emphasize the biggest match-up favorable to ASU should probably lead to success. Whether it is Kalen Ballage, Manny Wilkins or Tim White.