Action from Saturday's spring game (Photo: Brad Denny)
This Saturday marked the annual Sun Devil holiday, with the early morning Pat's Run setting the stage for the afternoon Spring Game, the first under head coach Todd Graham.
This was the final of the 15 practices allowed by NCAA rules, and the team made good use of the time. The headline story throughout the spring was the three-man quarterback battle, but the game featured many standout performances.
- Taylor Kelly was the early star of the day. He got the scoring started with a long touchdown run, then scored another on the ground. He was efficient with his passing, but often settled for short gains and didn't take many chances downfield.
- Michael Eubank is a beast. He had several impressive runs in which he pulled several defenders with him for extra yardage, including one for a 17-yard touchdown. He is still developing as a passer, but still threw for three touchdowns, including one during the overtime period to Darwin Rogers. He clearly has the strongest arm of the group.
- Mike Bercovici did a solid job, but failed to standout. He tossed a pair of touchdowns, but his lack of running ability--at least comparatively--makes him less of a fit in the offense. Whether his refined passing skills can overcome that will be a key item this fall.
- After the scrimmage, Graham was asked to sum up each quarterback in one word. Eubank: Potential. Kelly: Poise. Bercovici: Operator.
- The running backs ran well. James "Tank" Morrison was tremendous, as he had been all spring. He bulled over defenders and showed good quickness. Deantre Lewis was also very good, running harder and with more power than usual. With his rare burst not yet back, that added power should help.
- J.J. Holliday and Jamal Miles stood out among the receivers. Holliday made several tough catches and showed off terrific hands. Miles was explosive as always, hauling in two touchdown passes and returning a kickoff 97-yards for a score. Rashad Ross showed off his elite speed on a 54-yard touchdown from Eubank.
- The offensive line was again strong, and earned praise from Graham for their strong play today and throughout spring.
- On defense, the unit didn't attack nearly as much as usual, and that showed in how efficient the offense performed. Will Sutton was a standout, and made a terrific play during the overtime portion on third and short to force a field goal.
- The defense didn't run a lot of 3-4 looks, but when they did, Carl Bradford looked good rushing the edge from outside linebacker.
- There were some missed tackles that resulted in significant yards-after-catch. Gary Chambers spun away from a tackle for a 49-yard touchdown, and Miles later squirted free for a big gain.
- Alex Garoutte was solid in his field goal kicking, and even scored a two-point conversion on a fake extra point, hauling in a pass from Bercovici.
- Ross was the primary punt returner, with Robert Nelson also getting some chances.
- The offense had a number of procedure penalties, and the defense had just one major infraction (a personal fould on Bradford). Still, the mistakes increased as the day went on, possibly due to fatigue from the 100-degree day.
- Attendance: 5,142