A tremendous Sun Devil day that began with the 9th Annual Pat's Run attended by 28,000 runners and walkers, concluded with the Arizona State University football spring game at Sun Devil Stadium/Frank Kush Field. A total of 5,142 Sun Devil fans saw a glimpse of first-year Head Coach Todd Graham's football team. Below are quotes from coach Graham and the three student-athlete's competing for playing time at the quarterback position, Mike Bercovici, Michael Eubank and Taylor Kelly.
Head Coach Todd Graham:
I really liked the way it went. There were a lot of positive things. We wanted a lot of things to happen. We wanted Jamal (Miles) to get a big homerun return--he did. I think special teams looked really good. Basically what you witnessed was three quarters. What you see was midway through that third quarter, penalties, penalties, penalties. Obviously that's because we have a lot of work to do training wise. A lot of that has to do with fatigue and getting worn out. I'm really impressed with all three guys at quarterback. I thought (Mike) Bercovici made some great throws. Obviously, (Michael) Eubank is a power. He's powerful. He didn't like that early whistle, but I thought there were a lot of positives. The run game looks really good. I thought (James) Morrison had a really good spring. [Osahon] Irabor had a really good spring. You can put some offensive lineman in there, and Miles--I'm trying to think of some guys that had a really good spring. We have a lot of work to do to get in shape mentally and physically, but I was really impressed. I wanted to be excited about today, and I was. It was a good spring. We have a lot of work to do. We're conforming in what we have to do, but we have to be transformed.
ON WHO STOOD OUT MOST AMONG THE THREE QUARTERBACKS:
I wasn't looking at all of that. The one that took the team down and scored the most, so whoever that was. That's the one who stood out to me most.
ON ANY SEPARATION AMONG THE QUARTERBACKS:
I think there's obviously some great promise that I've seen. I went into the spring thinking that group is a group I can have some confidence in, and I come out of the spring knowing I have confidence in them. We don't need any newcomer quarterbacks. We want guys that are seasoned veterans as far as their decision making, and that's a position that we've got good talent to work with.
ON THE EXTRA IMPORTANCE OF THE SPRING:
This first year, this first spring, this first camp, every second of every day, and what we do from right now until we report back for summer program in the classroom and in the weight room and running, and getting in mental condition, will really determine our fate. We have a lot of work to do, but I know these guys can do it. We have a big summer ahead of our program, because every second is big, and this year is going to be the most challenging.
ON HIS KNOWLEDGE ON WHO HAS THE EDGE AT QUARTERBACK:
[Coaches] definitely keep it within themselves and within the staff. They have some long staff room meetings, and also I don't think they want to tell us. I think they want to keep us guessing. They're all about putting strain on us. When we come out here, they want pressure on us, and that's what they do. They want us to perform and see how we're going to emerge.
ON POTENTIALLY SEPARATING HIMSELF FROM THE REST OF THE QUARTERBACK'S:
Today, I felt like I did a lot of good things. Sitting on the sideline you probably can't understand some of our concepts but we had a couple miscues. When we go into these live situations and some of those receivers don't get to see the signal--we had a couple signaling issues--I felt like those were my only setbacks. Sometimes we had some miscommunication of routes, but that's also my job. I have to make sure I communicate the play to them even though we are a no huddle offense. I felt like I showed my leadership skills today, and that's one of the biggest things coach talks about. It's not the most physically impounding kid or the kid with the biggest arm or fastest, it's about that leadership quality and getting those 300 pounds guys moving down the field, and that's what I worked on today.
ON HIS PERFORMANCE:
I would say that it started off slow, but it ended strong. I would say there were a lot of things I wish I could have done, or take back, but I learned from everything that I did and it made me a better player. I'm definitely happy with my running ability. I'm glad that I was able to develop more of a passing game, too, because in high school I wasn't really a passer. In this offense, you have to pass because we draw in the offense from the run.
ON SEPARATING HIMSELF FROM THE REST OF THE QUARTERBACK'S:
I believe I did, but that's up to the coaches to decide.
ON BEING UPSET WITH THE REF BLOWING THE WHISTLE EARLY:
I went up and asked [the referee] why he was being so generous with the whistle. I wanted him to let me run and do what I do, and he was trying to protect us of course. But when I get in there, I get anxious and I'm ready to go. I was a little upset that he was holding the whistle for me, but it's all good.
ON HIS COMFORT LEVEL WITH THE OFFENSE:
I'm really comfortable with this. I ran a similar offense in high school, and it's kind of similar to last year with that zone read and getting out on the perimeter and attacking that way.
ON HAVING AN IDEA ON WHERE HE STANDS IN THE QUARTERBACK BATTLE:
Not really. We're just going out and competing. We had our little cycles today, and we just each had our spot in the rotation. I'm just going out and competing because I can only control what I do.
ON EVALUATING THE OFFENSE OVER THE SPRING:
We have gone a long ways. Our offense has improved a lot from the first practice. Guys are sprinting on and off, they're looking to the board when we need to, and they're knowing the offense and I think going into summer camp, that's going to help us a lot.