QB Situation Weighs Heavily on Media's Mind

The soaring temperatures outside of the Sheraton Gateway hotel in Los Angles were a rare occurrence. Inside one of its conference rooms, it was business as usual as the Pac-10 media was asking ASU head coach Dirk Koetter yet another question about who will start between his duo of talented signal callers.

The two-quarterback system won't work at Arizona State. Koetter put that theory to rest in his opening statement during the Pac-10's media day. He also didn't name a starter on Thursday morning, nor did he hint who has the edge in this highly anticipated position battle. Consequently, the reporters in the room pressed for comparisons between Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter, even probing senior offensive tackle Andrew Carnahan who accompanied Koetter to this event.

In the grand scheme of things, does it really matter who out of the two will get the nod? Both are proven commodities, they are surrounded by an experienced offensive line, an improved running game, and a few tight ends and receivers who have already shown that they can be a nightmare to any opposing defense. Another national top-five finish in total offense wouldn't shock even the most skeptical Sun Devil fan.

Queries about ASU's defense, should have probably dominated the line of questioning on Thursday. Defensively finishing 114th among Division I schools, naturally prevented the maroon and gold from achieving great success in 2005. Koetter quipped that maybe it's a good thing that this unit only returns four starters. The other side of that coin is obviously the relative inexperience in many positions, namely linebacker, which will characterize this side of the ball.

Eight new players on defense aren't freshmen, but only three of them, all on the defensive line, ever played Division I football before. The 2006 recruiting class was dominated by junior college defenders for a reason – help is needed for the maroon and gold and is needed now. Just ask offensive phenom Rudy Burgess, who could be doing double-duty at cornerback this year. The uncertainty on defense, probably caused those who cover the conference on a regular basis from picking ASU higher than forth place in the Pac-10 pre-season poll.

Maybe it's just the mentality of the Pac-10 to accept less than average defenses, as the conference boasts some of the most explosive offenses in all of college football. UCLA's defense wasn't that much better than ASU's, and yet it was good enough for a 10-2 record last year. The conference's defensive coordinators face challenges that only their counterparts in the SEC can relate to. Sophisticated Pac-10 offenses run by extremely talented players are without a doubt the norm and exposes even decent defenses on a weekly basis.

So let the various journalists on the west coast obsess on who will take the first snap under center in ASU's season opener. The Sun Devil coaches and its fans know that it will eventually be nothing but an answer to a trivia question. What will determine the fate of the 2006 season for the Sun Devils, are the players and positions that fielded close to no questions on the Pac-10's media day – the ASU defense.

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