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ASU Football: “True open competition” at quarterback, and updated play calling roles, per Aguano

Quarterback competition at practice this week before traveling to Boulder

Syndication: Arizona Republic Joe Rondone/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

TEMPE - Arizona State quarterbacks Emory Jones and Trenton Bourguet will compete in an open competition for the starting role at practice this week, interim head coach Shaun Aguano said Monday.

“I want to see how the team reacts to it,” Aguano said. “How do we go about from a series on converting on our situational practices? But just the overall moxie of the quarterback and the feel. The good thing is, the kids trust both of them. Now, who’s going to be confident to win the job. So, we’re going to go about this Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. I might not name a starter until I figure it out Friday whose the guy that I’m comfortable with going.”

In six full games as starter, Jones is averaging 214.67 yards per-game and less than a touchdown (0.83) each week through the air. He went 7-for-9 with 59 passing yards before leaving the Washington game with a head injury. As his replacement, Bourguet completed 15-of-21 passes for three touchdowns and an interception.

Jones, labeled a dual-threat quarterback by prospect rankings, is averaging 5.67 rushing yards per-game, and he has four touchdowns on the ground.

Jones cleared concussion protocol after the team’s bye week following the Washington win, and he was named the starter upon his return. Aguano said before Stanford that he would not let a player lose a starting job due to injury, but the best player would start.

In the first half against Stanford, Jones went 8-for-12 for 117 yards with a touchdown and an interception, which was tipped at the line of scrimmage. The offense, in all facets, went dark in the second half, with Jones completing 6-of-12 passes for 110 yards.

“There was some decision-making that was questionable, I thought,” Aguano said. “There was some inconsistency, I thought, in the second half a bit. Overall, I thought (Jones) did okay. Going forward, and you’ll see it out there too, it’s an open competition, a true open competition for both of those guys.”

After meeting with offensive coordinator Glenn Thomas postgame, Aguano also implied the two will split play calling duties against Colorado. In the second half against Stanford, the offense recorded just 144 yards. They went 0-for-4 on third down conversions in the fourth quarter.

The Sun Devils are 11th in the conference in total offense (353.6 yards per-game), and ninth in the Pac-12 in scoring offense (25.0 points per-game, not accounting for defensive scores).

“I will definitely be very, very, very involved with the offense going forward in regards to play calling and everything else,” he said.

Prior to his duties as interim head coach, Aguano served as the team’s running backs coach.

Bourguet, a redshirt sophomore, went 8-for-12 with 115 yards and a touchdown in various garbage-time opportunities over the last three seasons. The former walk-on is a fan-favorite and widely-regarded as a cerebral and fundamentally-sound quarterback.

“Nothing changes for me,” Bourguet said following the Washington game. “I’m going to keep preparing the way I have been this whole season like I am starting, you know, like I am going to be coming out that first huddle, and running the first play.”

Other notes:

  • Left guard Ladarius Henderson will likely miss 1-2 more weeks, per Aguano. Henderson missed the Stanford game with a finger injury.
  • ASU vs Colorado will mark the battle of the Pac-12 interim coaches. Buffaloes interim HC Mike Sanford is 1-1 since taking over for Karl Dorrell with a 20-13 overtime home-win over Cal, and a 42-9 blowout loss at Oregon State.
  • For the first time in 2022 Pac-12 play, the Sun Devils are favored. According to FanDuel Sportsbook, ASU is 12.5-point favorites on the road at Colorado on Saturday.