Spring showcase: Arizona State quarterbacks
With Brock Osweiler preparing to move on to the NFL a year early, the Arizona State starting quarterback job is vacant.
Osweiler's backup last season, Mike Bercovici, will be a true sophomore in the fall. But he isn't the odds-on favorite to land the job, as new head coach Todd Graham has brought the up-tempo spread-option attack to Tempe with former head coach Dennis Erickson and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone gone. In this scheme, which is reminiscent of the one run at Clemson under Chad Morris, the QB needs to serve as a threat running the football, especially on the zone read.
ICONMike Bercovici was the backup last season at Arizona State, but a new offense could prove difficult to master.
And while Bercovici has a strong arm, he isn't known for his rushing ability.
So it will be difficult for Bercovici to hold off sophomore Taylor Kelly and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank. Kelly has run the spread option in high school, while the athletic 6-5, 235-pound Eubank was recruited by Graham at Pitt.
However, Bercovici will get a chance to showcase his arm strength during spring drills, which begin for the Sun Devils on Tuesday, because Graham wants to get the ball down the field in addition to keeping it on the ground. And the return of senior running back Cameron Marshall, who rushed for 1,050 yards and a school-record 18 touchdowns last season, will make the ground game potent no matter who is taking the snaps.
One thing is certain: none of the three signal-callers have any significant college experience (Bercovici and Kelly appeared in two games last season, throwing a combined seven passes), so whoever best picks up the offense and masters the mental side of things will have the edge heading into fall camp in the eyes of Graham and offensive coordinator Mike Norvell.
However, none of the quarterbacks will be dealing with an experienced group of receivers, as the Sun Devils won't have their top three pass-catchers from last season: Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie, who combined to catch 157 passes in 2011.
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