It was a loud and fast afternoon at Sun Devil Stadium, as ASU players jogged on and off the field on every possession and coaches screamed so loud they could be heard all the way up the bleachers. One word to describe the offense was fast. ASU ran a no huddle all day and ran to the line of scrimmage on every down. Coach Graham has said he expects the offense to run around 80 plays a game.
Here is a breakdown of the game.
The three quarterbacks split possessions and each had their moments during the game. Taylor Kelly got the first score of the afternoon, with a 42-yard touchdown run on his first drive. On Kelly's second possession, he orchestrated a solid drive, going 4-4 in the air, and capping the drive with a six-yard touchdown run. Kelly completed his first eight throws on the day, and spread the ball around effectively. Michael Eubank started slow as he went 1-3 on this first possession, and the ASU offense went three and out. On Eubank's second possession he hit Rashad Ross for a 54-yard touchdown pass. Michael Bercovici went 3-4 on his first two drives, however ASU did not score on those possessions. On his third possession, Bercovici hit Jamal Miles on a short screen pass for a touchdown. In my opinion, Kelly had the best game of the three. Unofficially (ASU did not keep official stats) Kelly went 10-12 with 116 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Kelly ran the ball effectively and did enough with his arm to lead the ASU offense down the field. Bercovici finished the game 12-21 with 112 yards and two touchdowns and Michael Eubank finished 8-15 with 183 yards and 3 TD's.
One thing that ASU is not short of is running backs. Even with Cameron Marshall and Kyle Middlebrooks sitting out the spring game with injurys, ASU running backs shined all day. James Morrison and Deantre Lewis got the majority of the playing time during the spring game, however Marcus Washington, Jamal Miles and R.J. Robinson all saw action for the Sun Devils. The ASU wide receiver situation is a little more clouded than the running back position. ASU lost Gerell Robinson, Aaron Pflugrad and Mike Willie to graduation. A lot of wide receivers saw action on Saturday. Redshirt-freshman Gary Chambers caught a 48-yard touchdown pass from Taylor Kelly. J.J. Holliday, Rashad Ross, Jamal Miles Daniel Masifilo and tight end Darwin Rodgers all had multiple receptions on the day.
The ASU defense started the day slow, however the picked up their play as the afternoon went on. Cornerback Joe Eason intercepted walk-on quarterback Danny Lewis and returned it 33-yards. Linebacker Jason Franklin intercepted Taylor Kelly in the overtime period. One name that was mentioned a lot was redshirt-sophomore defensive end Jason McDonald. McDonald, from Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, sacked Bercovici on the first possession of the game, and was all over the field. The defense shined in the overtime period, forcing limiting ASU touchdowns in short yardage situations and forcing field goals on multiple occasions.
Head Coach Todd Graham
On the tempo of the game:
"What you're seeing is as the pace goes, basically what you witnessed there is about three quarters, you could see, midway through that third quarter, penalties, penalties, penalties, and obviously that is because we have a lot of work to do training wise a lot of that has to do with fatigue and getting worn out."
On the quarterbacks:
"Really impressed with all three guys at quarterback. I went into the spring thinking that it was a group that I could have confidence in, and I came out of the spring knowing I have confidence in them. We want guys that are seasoned veterans as far as decision making and that's a position that we have a lot of talent to work with. I think that all of them have great character, all of them are great human beings. We need a leader."
On the importance of this spring because it is his first one with the program:
" No question, this first year, this first spring, this first camp, every second of every day and what we do between right now and when we report back for our summer conditioning, in the classroom and in the weight room, and the mental conditioning is going to determine our fate. We have got a lot of work to do."
Taylor Kelly - Quarterback
On his confidence after his quick start:
"I have to take what the defense gives me and so this was a really good opportunity to go out there and do my thing today."
On what he has to improve over the summer:
"Just get more comfortable in the passing game, just going through my reads and having the game slow down, and I think I will be a lot more comfortable int he pocket and making those throws on time."
Michael Eubank - Quarterback
On what he did today:
"I think personally I did what I needed to do, my spring practices haven't really gone as well as I though it could. So I knew I had to come out here and make a good show for the people and a good show for the coaches. So I feel like what I did was needed."
On if he separated himself from the other quarterbacks today:
"I believe that I did, but it is up to the coaches."
Michael Bercovici - Quarterback
On what he showed today:
"I felt that I showed my leadership skills today and that's one of the biggest things that the coaches talk about."
On where he feels he is on the depth chart:
"Whoever started the spring game felt like they were rewarded, and personally I feel like after my performance Tuesday and Thursday I got rewarded to start today. If I'm being honest, I feel like I'm leading right now, because of my efficiency."
Brandon Magee - Linebacker
On the play of the defense:
"Overall I feel that we came out a little flat, but we picked it up towards the end, and that's all that matters, it shows a lot of character and we made some big time stops in that overtime, so I'm proud of them."
On the difference from last spring to this spring:
"The main difference is the energy, and the tempo of the scrimmages, that is the big time difference, and it really shows, you can watch from the stands and you can see a whole new team."
On what the defense has to do to continue to improve:
"We need to have a great summer workout, and we have to learn the system better, we have to get with the coaches and really learn the system."
Defensive Coordinator Paul Rudolph
On his defense overall:
"We have a couple scrimmages where we started slow and ended fast, and we have had a couple scrimmages where we started fast and ended slow. We always talk about the finish, and we just got to get more consistant in the way that we play, and be able to play for the duration."
On some breakout players this spring:
"Up front I think Will Sutton really stepped up, he started a little slow this spring but he really caught on with the way we were doing things. Corey Adams, we were excited to get him back, so you know, size and strength up front I was really excited with how we finished. At the linebacking corps, I thought Kipeli (Koniseit) did a good job of picking up the system as we progressed through, on the backend (secondary) I though Osahon Irabor had a really good spring in the secondary technique wise, breaking things up and making plays."
*- all stats are unofficial