ASU QB competition mushes on

April, 2, 2012
4/02/12
7:00
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For all of those hoping for a quick resolution to Arizona State's three-way quarterback competition, offensive coordinator Mike Norvell has some disappointing news: not gonna happen.

"I'm definitely OK with this thing going into the summer," said Norvell, who came from Pitt with new head coach Todd Graham. "Obviously, you'd like to be able to name a starter, that always helps. But in our situation, us being in our first year, and these guys all being relatively young, we want to be able to give them time to mature. If we were a third-year staff, I would say that I want a starter by the end of spring. But I don't see that being able to occur, so I'm more than OK with this going into the summer."

Given the inexperience at the position, Norvell had very little film to work with when trying to gauge Michael Eubank, Taylor Kelly and Mike Bercovici, so the last couple of weeks have really been his first chance to start serious evaluations.

Here's his take on the trio so far:
Kelly: Probably the most experienced of the quarterbacks, but he has some game experience. He can do a little of both. He understands throwing on timing, but can also present some promise for defenses with his legs. He's a mature young man and a quick-study of what we're doing. We need to continue to develop some consistency with him.

Bercovici: He's still growing. Great arm, understands the passing game and he gets the ball out quickly on time with a good release. He doesn't have as much experience with timing, but he's done a good job so far picking everything up.

Eubank: He's a physical talent. 6-5, 240 pounds, he can run, has a really good arm and can make a lot of different throws. He throws the deep ball exceptionally well. We need to develop consistency with his fundamentals, and a lot of that is attributed to his youth, but he can do a lot of different things for us.

Despite a "spread" mentality, Norvell said people are going to be surprised by how balanced the Sun Devils are going to be. He said -- in a perfect world -- they'll have a 55-45 percent run-to-pass ratio.

"The biggest thing for us is our tempo," he said. "We want to run 80-plus snaps a game. If we're snapping the ball 80-85 times per game, we're still throwing 40-45 times. You get the best of both worlds in this offense. But that tempo hopefully opens everything up.

"Everybody wants to consider us spread because we're in the gun so much, but we are a two-back spread team. We have a lot of straight, pro-style run schemes. We're very balanced with our play-action and run-to-pass ratio. We want to be physical. That's at every position. We want to have that mentality and be able to run the football. That opens up everything we want in the passing game and being able to execute that part of the offense."

All three took equal snaps during Saturday's scrimmage. Norvell is aware that Eubank is a "fan favorite" because of his athletic talent and size. But he won't be swayed by the opinion of others.

"Anytime you look at a young man that has those physical tools and the ability he has, people get excited about it," Norvell said. "He's got to continue to take a workman's approach and he's done a good job. He wants to know this offense as well as I know it. He's putting in the time. But you look at those other two guys, they are fierce competitors and they know what we want to do. We really have a great situation and a great competition."

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