Carpenter Looks Ahead

It hasn't been an easy weekend or fall camp for that matter for Rudy Carpenter. He was naturally frustrated not being the named the starting signal caller, after displaying what he felt was a high level of play. With Coach Dirk Koetter now giving him the nod over Sam Keller, the sophomore has no choice but to concentrate on the season on hand and the opener against NAU in ten days.

"There are a lot of things going in my mind right now," said Rudy Carpenter after Sunday's practice. "But I think the most important things that are going in my mind right now are the team and NAU, and going to the Rose Bowl." The Arizona State quarterback stated that he found out about his coach's decision, during the day on Saturday, and declined to go into details of the chronology of events that led up to that resolution. "With the QB situation like this, things just happen," he said. "I guess you can read into it as you wish."

Carpenter said that he hasn't talked to Sam Keller following the decision change by Koetter, but admitted that he would like to converse with him at some point. "It's a tough situation that we're both in, but we'll both push through," he remarked. "I have no idea what he's going through, but I know Sam needs to do what's best for him and his future. Just like at a certain point I had to do what was best for my future. Regardless of whatever someone thinks, college football is still a business. We still in some ways have to do what's best for ourselves. We're obviously team-oriented guys first; but sometimes it doesn't always work that way. "

The sophomore admitted that following the initial decision to name Keller the starter, thoughts of transferring out of the program did cross his mind. He acknowledged that fact that now that Keller is most likely quit the Sun Devils, that it will carry a strong impact. "It affects the team obviously, because we lose one of our great players, one of our leaders," he commented. "That's where my job comes in and to step up and be the leader for my team and have a great year."

Carpenter said that he has received nothing but positive feedback from his teammates. "They all called me and said ‘we're all gonna jump on your back now.' That's all they can say," stated Carpenter. "With any quarterback competition there always is (a divide). That's natural – guys choose sides. Me and Sam tried real hard from guys doing that but sometimes that's just the way it is."

Frustrating, crazy, and is some ways good, is how Carpenter would sum up this roller coaster of a weekend. Nonetheless, he doesn't feel that the Sun Devil skipper should be hard on himself for arriving at the resolution he did. "Coach Koetter has nothing to apologize about," he said. "He made a decision, and like everyone he's not perfect and he decided that there was something that could be done that was better. Coach Koetter said that he's doing what's best for the team, what the team wants and this thing will affect the team in the best way. He chose to do that and he doesn't have to apologize to anybody. Coach Koetter is human like everyone else."

Carpenter claimed that he's in a good mindset and only worry about the things he can control. "When you work extremely hard to be a player on this team and it just doesn't happen for you, it feels like your walls have been crushed," he admitted. "When the decision came back…it was a different feeling. I'm still trying to get over and push forward and focus on NAU."

Seniors Speak Up

Wide receiver Terry Richardson is part of a players' senior leadership council that met with Koetter to discuss the decision on a starting quarterback, before it was changed. He stated that the meeting was called for mutually by the players and Koetter. Furthermore, the senior said that he and his fellow seniors didn't see this decision change coming.

"We were there for an hour, but it felt like ten minutes," recalled Richardson. "Koetter asked us if we wanted to say anything and we just went around the table, going back and forth on the whole situation. We were just talking about how it was before Rudy got here, Rudy's position last year and how he stepped up last year…Sam's injury, Sam coming back and how things are going right now…we just went around the table going back and forth between both quarterbacks. He wrote everything down, said thank you, went back to his chamber and here we are today."

Richardson, who's Carpenter's roommate, felt that it was important for the team to gibe their opinion on what has transpired on the QB front. "We wanted to share with him how the team felt about the situation, speaking on the team's behalf so he could know," said Richardson. "He's not a psychic. He doesn't know what the team feels. He doesn't know what the team wants. We just gave him a better view of everybody's attitude about the whole situation. We just talked it out and we got a lot off our chest. I would do the same thing if I was a head coach. He's not a psychic; you have to pull in the glue of your team to see what's going on. What he has done was the right thing to do." He added that there was no vote taken on who should be the starting signal caller, but that Koetter took many notes during this meeting.

There are naturally those how are concerned by everything that has transpired in Tempe in the last 72 or so hours, but the wide receiver sees some positive circumstances. "We've been through a lot worse than this and adversity," stated Richardson. "I don't think this is a bad thing. This happened before our first game started. We have time to recognize Rudy and carry it on."

Suddenly Sullivan

Somewhat lost in the whole decision making story, is that now ASU will have a true freshman signal caller, who was heading towards redshirt year and now is thrown into a backup role. "It's been a strange weekend," said Danny Sullivan. "It's something that you never expect. The tide has turned and we have to deal with it. Coach Koetter made his choice and I'm sure others will respect it."

The true freshman felt that while the competition for the third string quarterback was tough, that he was able to win that battle just days into fall camp. "I feel that I'm progressing well," he claimed. "Rudy told me I'm progressing well and his word means a lot. He's taught me a lot. I also got good feedback from the coaches. I've been improving a lot on my footwork."

Naturally, Sunday's practice session was quite different for Sullivan, compared to other fall camp sessions he was a part of. "Things are coming out at you even faster," he described. "Coaches told me that they will push me even harder. I got 30 more reps today. It makes a big difference. I also had to get used to a quicker tempo defense."

Redshirt freshman walk-on Brett Boon is currently the third string quarterback, with walk-on freshman Dax Crum rounding out the depth chart at that position.

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