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QB situation interesting for Arkansas State

Ryan Aplin is Arkansas State’s starting quarterback, but redshirt freshman Phillip Butterfield did his best to make the coaching staff at least consider the possibility of a controversy.

Butterfield, who was part of the quarterback competition last season before suffering a season-ending injury during fall camp, had the benefit of taking the bulk of the first team reps this spring while Aplin was recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

Last week, Butterfield threw five touchdowns and no interceptions in the Red Wolves' scrimmage, but he struggled some during the spring game in front of fans Saturday night at ASU Stadium.

Butterfield threw two interceptions on his first two possessions and finished with four for the game.

“Definitely a slow start. I just kind of had some jitters that I needed to work out,” Butterfield told the Jonesboro Sun. “The defense was bringing a lot of heat. They did a really good job tonight, even though I wasn’t live. They still had a great scheme, but I think once everybody got their poise, we started doing really well.”

Ultimately, Butterfield regained his composure and completed 30-of-54 passes for 235 yards and three touchdowns.

Arkansas State coach Steve Roberts praised Butterfield’s composure and said the slow start would be a learning experience as he matured.

“He’s had his ups and downs, he’s a freshman, and obviously this is a big stage for him tonight. He’ll draw a lot of confidence from the way he settled down and fought back,” Roberts told the paper. “I’m really pleased with the way he settled down and made some big-time throws and got us in some good plays. He was very, very poised for three quarters of the scrimmage.”

Last season, Aplin completed 77-of-118 passes for 889 yards, three touchdowns and six interceptions. He also rushed for 253 yards and four scores. Aplin is expected to be ready for the start of the 2010 season.