Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards discusses his team’s situational work during practice Tuesday night.
Jeff Metcalfe, azcentral sports
Arizona State football held their second practice since returning from Camp Tontozona on Tuesday night at Kajikawa practice fields.
“We did a pretty good job last year dealing with situations. The last period, we tried to score in the two-minute, when we clock it, when we don’t clock it. The players were well aware of what to do. I tried to ice the kicker a little bit, and he still made it, which is good. It was a good practice, good tempo.” — ASU coach Herm Edwards
Starting temperature: 104.
Ending temperature: 100.
Media viewing: Entire practice.
Yellen to continue to push
The idea of ASU going with true freshmen as its No. 1 and 2 quarterbacks still was sinking in a day after Edwards made that announcement.
On Monday, Jayden Daniels spoke to the media about earning the No. 1 job in what started out during the spring as a four-player competition. Joey Yellen gave his reaction to being named No. 2 — at least for now, Edwards cautioned — on Tuesday.
“Coming into it obviously all of us wanted the starting job so I’m not going to sit here and say it’s completely ideal, but I am excited they thought I was worthy of a No. 2 role. I’m going to approach every game like it’s a starter. I know it’s a cliche, but I’m really going to live by that and be ready if my number gets called.”
As recently as 2016, ASU had a rash of quarterback injuries that led to three different players starting including Dillon Sterling-Cole, then a true freshman and now a redshirt junior slotted at No. 3. Manny Wilkins played through injuries to hold down the starting job in 2017 and 2018, but odds are against that luck continuing.
So Yellen, 6-3, 210, and Sterling-Cole, 6-3, 219, honestly need to remain ready behind Daniels, 6-3, 175.
“You look at the No. 1 draft pick from (Kyler Murray), he didn’t start until his fourth or fifth year in college,” Yellen said. “Everyone has their own story. You just have to be confident everything is going to work out and just keep working and keep your head down.”
Daniels, Yellen and Ethan Long, another quarterback now playing wide receiver, started last semester at ASU as early enrollees. For Yellen, from Mission Viejo, Calf., that equated to a chance to not only learn the offensive system but get in better shape going into preseason camp and make the jump to No. 2.
“I’m a little bit more agile, not 100 percent where I want to be, but it helps me extend plays more,” Yellen said. “I’m a lot more confident and that’s come with reps in the offense. All those things have helped me be a lot more comfortable.”
Yellen credits Edwards and offensive coordinator Rob Likens with managing what could have become a contentious quarterback competition for seven-plus months.
“It would be a lot worse situation if we had coaches that didn’t know how to handle this sort of thing,” he said. “They’ve been completely up front and honest with us the entire time, knowing exactly what they were thinking, so we’re still with them.”
ASU still has the option of playing Yellen for four games or less to preserve a redshirt season that would then put him and Daniels on separate graduation tracks. But for now, it appears the preference is to use two untested quarterbacks at the college level over Sterling-Cole.
Edwards said Daniels and Yellen are “very poised. Things are going to happen sometimes that’s not good. I told them it doesn’t matter, go to the next play.”
–Defensive lineman D.J. Davidson missed some of practice icing a leg.
–Linebacker Ely Doyle went down late in practice but walked off the field and later seemed to be uninjured.
–The defense came up with a few interceptions Tuesday including one by linebacker Merlin Robertson, 2018 Pac-12 Defensive Freshman of the Year.
“We want to be a defense that can take the ball away and give our offense opportunities and short fields,” Edwards said. “We’ve got a young quarterbacks so we’ve got to give them help. They can’t do all by themselves. The more we can play good defense, hold people to field goals, special teams has to be very good as well especially punt return game.”
The Sun Devils are scheduled to practice from 7-9:10 p.m. Wednesday at Kajikawa practice fields. Practice is open to the public.
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