QB Competition Brings Parties Closer

You can call it a quarterback conservatory or a healthy position duel. According to ASU's head coach, throughout all this, Sam Keller and Rudy Carpenter have grown founder of each other, despite all the pressure of this battle that will be decided in Friday's scrimmage.

"I actually think those guys have grown closer through this," said coach Dirk Koetter following Wednesday's night practice. "None of us really know the pressure those guys are under. They talk to you guys (media) everyday, they talk to their families, and they got me yelling at them and Roy (Wittke) talking to them everyday. That's one of the ways I coach quarterbacks – I yell at the quarterbacks. I'm on the quarterback, because I want them to feel pressure from me, so game days are easy. They both have been through that. I do think they're both pressing. I have seen both of them relax for a day or so then I've seem them fall back off."

Koetter commented that he talked to both as a group and individually about the whole notion of pressing which naturally affects their performance in practice. "I think they both had their moments where they are relaxed," he said, "and I think they both have had their moments where they pressed even harder. I think part of it is how we're doing it, so I think any two people would feel that way. The thing is I know both these guys can do it. It's not like we're trying to find who a guy is. We've got two guys."

The Arizona State head coach is anxious to conclude this position battle so the squad can move on. "It needs to end for the betterment of our football team and it's going to on Friday," remarked Koetter. "If we were picking our left guard, we wouldn't be having a press conference. I'm not gonna stand here and make it a big deal. Someone will go out there with our first offense (on Friday), and someone will go out there with our second. Our football team needs to have our quarterback and our second quarterback. We're still gonna have two excellent quarterbacks. This is not going to be a circus. I'll allow them to talk, but then it has to be a dead issue."

"Whoever the guy that goes out there," continued Koetter, "that guy will play good. If something happens to that guy for whatever reason, the next guy will play good. After we made it (the decision) I don't want that guy looking over his shoulder."

Depth at tight end was a concern of the Sun Devil skipper at the beginning of training camp. Now as this period of practices nears a close, the outlook for this position isn't looking much brighter than before. "I'm not feeling great," stated Koetter. "There's good news, bad news. We elevated (backup tight end) Brady Conrad to scholarship status, along with Preston Jones back to scholarship status. Brady is a guy that has come from nowhere to help our depth."

On the other hand, the injuries at this position are starting to mount, but Koetter isn't feeling desperation in terms of giving up redshirt status of players. "The fact that Dane Guthrie has been able to practice only two days in shells hurts our depth," he said, "and now Brent Miller is hobbled and we're not gonna know his status for a few days…Lance (Evbuomwan) needs to redshirt. Lance is 17-years old, great hands, long arms and has a chance to be an awesome tight end here. I really like that kid, but he's not ready to help us this year." Koetter added that Miler, who aggravated his knee injury from two years ago, needs to see the team's orthopedic surgeon and get his recommendation, so a course of treatment can be chosen. In general, other than Martin Tevaseu Koetter feels that no hobbled player is considered a long term injury. "We're incredibly lucky," commented Koetter.

Linebackers Gerald Munns and Travis Goethel, as well as safety Ryan McFoy are currently the only true freshmen that will not redshirt this season. Dimitri Nance, is a player that is causing Koetter to wrestle with the decision whether to have him sit out the 2006 campaign or not, due to the great depth at the running back position.

Being physically ready to play, is the first question that Koetter asks himself when determining if a payer will redshirt or not. There are other factors that influence this decision as well. "Mentally, is he mature enough to know what to do? Offense, defense, special teams…it isn't as tough as you might think. If you're out there watching practice everyday it jumps at you real quick."

Koetter believes that any player, who plays as a freshman, no matter how sparingly or extensively, makes him that much better on Saturdays in his second year. "They're exceptions to that both ways," explained Koetter, "but for the most part that has been my experience."

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