TEMPE, Ariz. — When Todd Graham addressed reporters Thursday, he made one thing perfectly clear about the quarterback position.
“If Taylor (Kelly) is ready by game time, he says ‘Coach, I’m ready’, then he’s going to play,” the third-year Arizona State head coach said following the final practice of the week.
Graham, though, did not say Kelly would start when No. 17 ASU hosts No. 23 Stanford on Saturday night at Sun Devil Stadium.
In fact, he ruled Kelly out if the game were to be played Thursday.
“If we played today,” Graham said, “(Mike) Bercovici would play because I don’t think Taylor is quite ready.”
How much closer to being ready Kelly will be in 48 hours is anyone’s guess; however, the third-year starter does continue to make progress with each passing day.
“He’s repped, and he went through everything yesterday except team session because we don’t want to take any chances of re-aggravating (the injury) with somebody stepping on him or something,” Graham said.
Kelly has been sidelined since hurting his right foot at Colorado on September 13. He returned to practice one week ago, but in a green no-contact jersey. The redshirt senior appeared limited in his work again Thursday.
The likely scenario for Saturday is Bercovici makes his third straight start with Kelly available in a backup role, perhaps seeing time in certain offensive sets.
Bercovici is coming off a five-touchdown, 510-yard performance in a win at USC, in which he threw a 46-yard Hail Mary pass to receiver Jaelen Strong for a score on the game’s final play.
Bercovici has completed 69-of-113 pass attempts for 998 yards, eight touchdowns and two interceptions while filling in for Kelly the past two games.
“It’s just a deal where we’ve just got to see. We’re evaluating film. (Kelly) looks like he’s going to be ready to go and we’ll just see how it works,” Graham said. “It’s not like there’s no doubt that I have any reservations about it. It’s his senior year and I know he wants to play, but I want to be very careful, too, and make sure he’s ready to go to do that, but I do think he will be.”