Welcome to the Valley of the Sun– home of quarterback competitions.
The NFL’s Arizona Cardinals have their own QB quandary on their hands, with Kevin Kolb and John Skelton vying for playing time.
And at the college level, the Arizona State Sun Devils have one-upped their professional brethren by conducting their own three-headed quarterback race between sophomores Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank.
With the Sun Devils’ season opener less than three weeks away, new head coach Todd Graham was quick to point out Monday that he’s not naming his starter just yet, but did clear up what the picture looks like in the current.
“If we played today, Taylor (Kelly) would be the guy,” Graham said following practice. “I’m not naming a starting quarterback, so don’t say that, but right now, he’s the guy we’d put in there.
“He’s definitely got two guys nipping at his heels in Eubank and (Bercovici).”
Eubank continues to take second team reps while Bercovici, last season’s backup to Brock Osweiler, is running with the third team, which has been difficult for the sophomore.
“It’s real tough, and especially in crunch time when you throw a flat route, and it goes off a wide receiver’s fingertips, you’re being judged off that pass because you were inaccurate with it,” Bercovici said. “But it’s our job as quarterbacks to make the throws. There are no excuses. There have been opportunities that I’ve had that I’ve missed and it’s not because of being off the field. It would definitely be nice to have a rhythm out there, but it is what it is — you’ve got to make plays.”
Obviously any coach would want to have his starting quarterback named at this point of fall camp, and Graham falls into that category. But despite the clear current pecking order, the Sun Devils’ new coach isn’t counting anyone out of the competition just yet.
“By no means do we think that anybody’s out of the competition; I think we’ve got this week and next Saturday’s scrimmage is going to be big there,” Graham said. “But right now, throughout the camp, Taylor’s the guy who has managed the ball the best. And I’ll be real honest with you, coming in, he wasn’t.”
With a quarterback competition so closely bunched — especially with three inexperienced candidates — the possibility remains that ASU fans will see at least two if not all three signal callers when the regular season rolls around. Graham says Eubank’s ability makes it hard to keep him off the field.
“Michael Eubank’s got some things that he provides from a skill set that are unique that we’ll use no matter what,” Graham said. “But I do think all think that all three are still competing.”