One of the more intriguing quarterback battles that took place during spring practice occured in Tempe, where first-year Arizona State head coach Todd Graham tried to find a replacement for NFL draft pick Brock Osweiler to run his version of the spread offense.
While no one emerged as the starter this spring, Graham did tip his hand on who has the lead heading into the summer months during a teleconference with season ticket holders.
ICONMike Bercovici served as the backup to Brock Osweiler last season in Tempe.
According to Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic, the Sun Devils head coach said sophomore Mike Bercovici has "a slight edge" on sophomore Taylor Kelly and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank.
"[Bercovici] had a little bit more reps and experience as a back-up last year, but this thing is really close," Graham said.
It's not out of the question that Graham would use two quarterbacks, as he did when he was at Tulsa, if Bercovici doesn't further separate himself during fall camp. But the former Pittsburgh head coach would prefer to have a solid No. 1 starter.
"My preference is that we have a guy emerge and we have a starter, and then if we use [a second quarterback] it would be in a limited role," Graham said.
Bercovici, who was Osweiler's backup last season, wasn't the odds-on favorite to land the job entering spring camp because Graham will be running an up-tempo spread-option attack in Tempe. In this scheme, which is reminiscent of the one run at Clemson under Chad Morris, the QB needs to serve as a threat running the football, especially on the zone read. And while Bercovici has a strong arm, he isn't known for his rushing ability.
Kelly, meanwhile, ran the spread option in high school, while the athletic 6-5, 235-pound Eubank was recruited by Graham at Pitt.
Nonetheless, entering fall camp, it seems as if the job is Bercovici's to lose.
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