The future is now for Mike Bercovici
Mike Bercovici’s career path at Arizona State is very much tied into the rags to riches tale of Taylor Kelly. At the conclusion of the 2012 spring practice, then first-year head coach Todd Graham implied that Bercovici had the inside track to assume the starting duties for that season. Kelly was then third on the depth chart behind Bercovici and Michael Eubank who later transferred following the 2013 season. Within the first week or so of fall camp that year, Kelly claimed the starting role and never looked back since. Bercovici, who saw action in two games as a true freshman in 2011, proceeded to redshirt the 2012 season. Since he completed his degree last May, Bercovici could have used an NCAA rule that that allows a player who has earned his Bachelor’s degree and has eligibility remaining to transfer to any school of his choice and play immediately. Players who fit that criterion usually have one only year eligibility remaining, but due to his earlier redshirt season Bercovici had two years left. With Kelly entrenched as a starter during the last two seasons, there was wide speculation that Bercovici wouldn’t turn down this golden opportunity especially when he had two years to showcase himself in a new school of his choosing. Nonetheless, even though the trials and tribulations he experienced and the fact that in two years he only attempted seven passes and played in just eight games, Bercovici declared following the 2013 season that he would return for his redshirt junior season even if it meant being a backup for a third consecutive year in Tempe. The quarterback pragmatically stated that his loyalty to the Sun Devil program was unwavering and that the deep relationships he has developed here, and the fact that his entire family, whom he is extremely close to, has always been Sun Devil fans (his sister Danielle graduated from ASU two years ago), were strong enough reasons to stick it out even if the viable chance to start wouldn’t come until the 2015 season. On a brisk Saturday night in Boulder, his path to his first ever start at ASU was fast-tracked. For the first time in two years, the vast majority of Bercovici’s reps in practice will now take place with the first-team offense. On the season Bercovici is 9-17 for 79 yards and a touchdown. His limited number of passing attempts are just too small of sample size to render a definitive opinion as to his prospects as ASU’s starting quarterback for September’s 25th much anticipated home contest versus UCLA and beyond. However, as a true student of the game, you can rest assured that Bercovici hasn’t been fully content with his performance this season. Much like any quarterback on any level, there have been a few throws every game that Bercovici would love to have back. Yet, as someone who is extremely knowledgeable of ASU’s offensive scheme, Bercovici is more than capable of fixing any mistakes he saw on film. Furthermore, he now has a bye week and added time to implement any necessary corrections. Going back to this year’s spring practice, Bercovici showed marked improvement with his mobility and decision making, two factors that prevented him from an increased role in years’ past, and his is leadership skills have never been in question. Whether it’s one of the best running backs nationally in D.J. Foster or one of the best wide receivers in the country in Jaelen Strong, the new starting ASU quarterback has an arsenal of weapons at his disposal that can only aid to a successful debut, one that he gets to experience in the friendly confines of Sun Devil Stadium. Granted, much like any player who has had a limited number of game day reps, there are bound to be question marks regarding how well Bercovici will perform for the first time ever as ASU’ starting quarterback. If his level of play on September 25th matches the level of commitment and loyalty he has already exhibited to the program, then the transition at starting quarterback for the Sun Devils will be smooth in nature. In contrast to the blackout in the stands that night, the future at quarterback may showcase itself as being bright.
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