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August 6, 2012

Kelly clouds QB competition



Arizona State coached Todd Graham said following the conclusion of his team's spring practice schedule he planned to narrow his focus to two quarterbacks early in fall camp.

Taylor Kelly had other plans.

Kelly, a 6-foot-1, 203 pound sophomore out out Eagle, Idaho, was the presumptive third-teamer heading into camp but that may not be the case any longer.

In ASU's first padded practice Sunday, Kelly was first to get turns in the lone 11-on-11 period observed by media members, and received twice as many reps as his competitors, sophomore Mike Bercovici and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank.

"The guy that has not turned the ball over is Taylor," said Graham, who a day earlier in front of several dozen reporters at ASU's media day said that would be one of the main factors in determining who wins the job. "So Taylor's been impressive. Today, Bercovici turned it over twice. We just can't do that. And Eubank has had some really good turns, but right now if you ask me, 'Who has done the best the first two days?' I think Taylor has."

Bercovici had the edge entering camp, Graham has said, but that may have been eroded to some degree by a tendency to turn it over, including three in one session and two in another.

Kelly doesn't have the arm strength or downfield striking capability of the others, but he's made the fewest mistakes and can make things happen with his feet or by improvising.

Crowded backfield

With senior Cameron Marshall, junior college transfer Marion Grice, sophomore Deantre Lewis and true freshman D.J. Foster all looking capable at running back, ASU took a look at senior James Morrison with the TEs and 3-backs group for the first time in Sunday's practice.

Morrison, affectionately called "The Tank" by Graham, was a workhorse player at running back in the spring with others out of action due to injury, but it's unclear what his role will be moving forward as evidenced by the Sunday position shift, temporary or not.

The Sun Devils don't even have junior Kyle Middlebrooks, who is still rehabbing a surgically repaired shoulder.

Graham said Sunday, that Lewis has continued to make strides after not playing last year following being shot in the upper leg in early 2011.

"(He's) come in and said, 'Hey, I don't think so,'" Graham said of any notice Lewis would cede to the others.

Coleman rehabs image

Junior defensive end Davon Coleman, at one point this summer, was considered "extremely unlikely to return" to the team in the fall according to one program source, but overcame that hurdle and looks physically fit and capable, at a heavier but impressively solid 277 pounds.

Coleman's a prototypical player for the 5 technique end spot in ASU's 3-3-5 stack defense being implemented in recent practices.

"I'll tell you a guy that I'm really proud of right now, who was up and down in the spring and I didn't know if he'd make it or not is Davon Coleman," Graham said. "(But) he has been phenomenal."

Notes

  • Sophomore corner Devan Spann has yet to practice due to should problems that have persisted throughout his career and Graham said Sunday "it doesn't look good."

  • Redshirt freshman center Mo Latu didn't make it through warm ups and is still trying to recover from a hospital stay several weeks ago due to a bad sinus infection.

  • Junior defensive lineman Will Sutton didn't practice due to an eye infection.


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