ASU QB's Ready to Answer Pre-Season Questions

For Sam Keller, this camp was going to start addressing the inquiry the he and coaches have heard so many times the in the off-season – can he repeat his Sun Bowl MVP performance? As far as Rudy Carpenter goes, the popular query was – can he successfully replace Keller if needed? At the end of Camp T, both signal callers talk about their performance in Friday's scrimmage, as well as their outlook for the season.

"The amazing thing is that the timing was better, and we did we play better on offense, but we still didn't do as well as we can," said Sam Keller on the camp ending scrimmage. "Honestly, it was a bit lackluster at times, I was slow to get moving out of the huddle at times, I was slow about making decisions…all those things put together and we still look good, that just says a lot of about our offense. We looked good today, but we can always look better. We always shoot for perfection"

Being named the #1 signal caller following last season, has obviously put Keller in a much different position than years past. The new status may have brought some uncertainties with it, but the junior does feel like he has found his comfort zone. "This is the first season that I'm getting ready as a starter," he stated. "I'll always remember this (year's camp) because I've been waiting for this my entire life. I really felt like I grabbed hold of the team. I really didn't know how that was gonna be…even though I'm a junior, I didn't know how they (the team) would respond to me."

"I knew I had a lot of good friends out here and I have a good rapport with a lot of them," Keller continued. "I'm really pleased how guys have my back. I don't want to say it's my team, but it is my team as the quarterback. It's everybody's team, but I grab the team from a leadership role at the quarterback. That makes me feel real good."

Rudy Carpenter has described his performance on Friday as average. Overall, he feels that he did enhance some aspects of his game at the conclusion of Camp T. "There were a lot of things I wanted to improve on," he said. "First, was really knowing the plays, knowing where all my receivers will be, where my protection will be. I think that came in the spring meeting with a lot of the coaches. One thing that I really wanted to improve on is my confidence – knowing I can play and there's a reason why they recruited me."

The redshirt freshman admitted that his now strengthen confidence, was on much less stable ground than it was just four months ago. "At the end of spring (practice), I really sat down and questioned whether I was good enough to play," he recalled. "I had all those questions. But now I realize that it takes everyone time to learn the offense. I'm just a freshman, and in camp I got a lot of time to get ready. Now at the end of camp I feel that if need be I'm ready to play."

Carpenter felt that the criticism levied in his direction following the spring, was unfair at times. Nevertheless, what helped him along the way was the realization about the logical set of expectations one should have from a first-year quarterback. "I don't think many people realized that I wasn't getting many reps last season," he remarked. "I was on the scout team. I was playing off cards. Then I'm going from the scout team to start competing for a job. I had a lot of learning to do, and I had only 15 practices (in the spring) to do it. It takes quarterbacks a couple years to learn the offense. I just needed some time. That's one thing about having Sam here, there not gonna be calling on me all the time. I know I can take the time to learn the system and be comfortable in it." Carpenter added that Keller has been a great mentor, and both learn from each other's mistakes.

One can only speculate what the future holds. Carpenter doesn't have all the answers now, but is certain of his mindset going into the 2005 campaign. "I think I'm ready to play," he said. "I'll be ready when we play LSU. Do I know what the atmosphere there is going to be like? No. But no matter what happens I'm gonna go there and do my best."

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