Who would have thought we’d have so much to learn from a 22-year-old and soon to be lawyer?
In a day and age where every college kid swears they’re headed to professional sports, Mike Bercovici was only focused on two things: being a Sun Devil student and being a football player. When it doesn’t go your way in sports, players transfer because they assume they’re headed for a long pro career and it’s just the coaching staff in the way.
Bercovici didn’t take the easy way out. It was supposed to be his job in 2012, but Taylor Kelly kept completing passes. Bercovici didn’t pout. He gave everything to his team. After every success and failure of Kelly, there was Bercovici. The two would talk after every series in Taylor’s sophomore year. Bercovici never showed any sign of bitterness, he just showed a desire to win.
It’s now time for Kelly to do the same thing. Near the end of the third quarter, Kelly scrambled and went down. He took a knee to the back and his foot appeared to stick in the ground. He limped off the field. Soon Bercovici began to warm up. The training staff took Kelly in for (what I was told) were “pictures.”
Offensive coordinator Mike Norvell approached Bercovici and interrupted his throwing. “It’s you” was all he said. Kelly spent the rest of the game in a boot. He was forced to sit on the training table because there’s no room to breathe in the limited space afforded the teams on the Folsom Field bench area. He couldn’t be up standing since the possibility of him getting run over on the sideline was too high.
ASU is not reporting the severity of Kelly’s injury or the duration of time he may or may not miss. The last time they handled an injury in this fashion, Marion Grice did not play the rest of the regular season.
No matter what his status is, the season rests on the shoulders of a graduate of Arizona State. Bercovici is amazingly mature as a young man. It’s impossible to know how mature he is as a quarterback. He knows this offense extremely well. Can he run it in live action? He nails his reads while wearing a no-contact jersey. Where will his eyes go when almost 300 pounds are wanting to crush him into the ground while he’s still expected to go through his progressions?
It’s so easy to be a fan of Bercovici. However, his teammates, coaches and fans will need a lot patience. Mike will, too. He will be tested like he’s never been tested before. At home, on FOX Sports 1 in a game that has determined one side of the Pac-12 Championship game each year of its existence, Bercovici will stand in a pocket against UCLA with everything he stayed and waited for in front of him.
Kelly will also be tested. He has every right to sulk for a few days but he has to come out of this funk, as well. Bercovici was there every step of the way for Kelly. Bercovici should expect nothing less from Taylor Kelly.
Kelly has been a great leader for ASU for the last two-plus seasons. Nothing changes now that his helmet is off. He can still be a difference maker by helping Bercovici in a similar fashion he received from Bercovici. Kelly’s leadership role does not change.
It doesn’t look good for ASU right now. The toughest four game stretch of the season starts in less than two weeks. Kelly could miss all four of those games. His injury might not be as bad as first thought and he’s back sooner than expected. Kelly’s foot could be bad enough to keep him out more than a month. Either way, we’re going to see a lot more of Mike Bercovici than anyone expected.
No one knows if Mike Bercovici will have a successful season. Everyone close to the ASU program knows he has earned one.