August 27, 2007

Camp Grades: QBs

Last year the Sun Devils had an extremely tense camp, due at least in part to the battle between Rudy Carpenter and Sam Keller. Not so, this season. With a new coaching staff feeling little or no pressure compared to what Dirk Koetter and his squad must have felt at this time last year, and a clear-cut No. 1 quarterback, practices have been relatively stress-free but yet high in energy. That's a good combination.

Carpenter, who could be heard at times calmly whistling in practice, and often found joking with teammates, has been relatively sharp and consistent with his reads and on-target with his throws. Sure, there have been a few interceptions, some mental mistakes. But that's an inevitability when throwing hundreds upon hundreds of passes in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 situations over the last three weeks. As a percentage of his repetitions, the mistakes have been very few.

Is this the most mechanically sound quarterback you're ever going to see at the major college level? Absolutely not. He can occasionally get his footwork out of whack and his release will get sloppy at times, certainly. But Carpenter is capable of completing his throws at a very high rate if and when his receivers are running the proper routes and coming open when and where they should be.

Backup Danny Sullivan has noticeably improved. He's trimmed out a bit from the spring and improved his throwing mechanics, which has quickened his release. The game appears to have slowed down a little for him and he's not as antsy in the pocket. He used to not be able to complete his progressions, but that's no longer the case. He still has to show consistency at game speed and is perhaps prone to missing underneath defenders in well executed zone looks.

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