TEMPE, Ariz. — Thirty-nine days have passed since Arizona State quarterback Taylor Kelly was hurt late in the third quarter of a game at Colorado.
At the time, it was described as nothing more than a right foot injury.
Well, now that Kelly is back and positioned to once again start, just what was wrong with the foot?
“Um, I’m not going to answer that question,” he said, smiling.
Hey, it was worth a shot.
Kelly can afford to smile now. He’s about to end a three-game absence when he leads 14th-ranked ASU into Seattle for a game against Washington Saturday night.
“I’m 100 percent,” the redshirt senior said. “I’m out there moving really well; back to full speed.”
Speaking for just the second time since the injury and the first time since resuming reps with the first team offense, Kelly admitted Wednesday to being “a little bit” worried about having to shake off the rust when he returns to action six weeks to the day of the injury.
“About two weeks ago I was doing some reps, just one-on-ones and stuff like that, trying to keep my timing up,” he said, referring to when he started practicing again on Oct. 9. “The main thing I was just kind of worried (about was) my eyes, trusting my eyes; the game speed and stuff.”
Kelly said he was ready to play last week against Stanford and he did participate in pregame warmups. Yet perhaps waiting allowed him to gain additional practice time that may prove to be beneficial in the end.
“It is all about getting reps,” head coach Todd Graham said, “but I don’t think he will have any problems. The main thing is that he is healthy, physically. I am not worried. It is just a matter of practicing and getting his timing and rhythm back.”
Having to wait for the foot to heal and watch from the sidelines was hard, Kelly said, but “we didn’t miss a beat with Mike (Bercovici) in there. He did an unbelievable job of leading this offense. I learned a lot of different things…how he sees different things from watching film. It helps my game plan.”
Bercovici completed 63 percent of his passes for 1,243 yards, nine touchdowns and two interceptions while filling in for Kelly. His 2-1 record, including wins over USC and Stanford, had many hoping Bercovici would remain the starter. Graham, however, stayed true to Kelly.
“It is nice to hear,” said Kelly, a three-year starter. “But we’re out here competing every single day. You never know — I’m trying to make Berc the best quarterback he can possibly be and he does the same thing for me. So we’re out here competing. There’s never a day off.”
Kelly helped lead the Sun Devils to a 3-0 start, throwing for 625 yards and six touchdowns without an interception. He’s also rushed for 168 yards and two scores.
Kelly said he had no issues or concerns about his mobility, an advantage he holds over Bercovici, and which may be a key factor this week.
Washington’s defense is second in the Pac-12 in sacks (27) and first in takeaways (15).
“That’s our thing that we always preach about is ‘own the football.’ We’re doing a great job of that this week, keeping the ball high and tight,” Kelly said. “They’re going to rack at it. They’re going to try to jump routes. They’re just really aggressive.”