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Edwards Provides Insight for Sun Devils QB Battle

ASU hopes its next starter is already on the roster, but head coach Herm Edwards wouldn't rule out the possibility of another transfer portal addition.

For the first time in a few years, the Sun Devils are in search of a new starting quarterback following the departure of Jayden Daniels to LSU. 

"We thank him for all he’s done here. He helped us win a lot of football games. I wish him much success," head coach Herm Edwards said following the first day of ASU's spring practice. 

"I have five other guys to figure out who the quarterback is. So that’s where that’s at.”

While the Sun Devils plan on giving all quarterbacks their fair shot, the battle for starting rights appears to be down to two passers: Trenton Bourguet and Paul Tyson. 

The two quarterbacks couldn't be more different. Tyson's 6-foot-5 frame towers over Bourguet's 5-foot-11 build, as physical attributes (and arm strength) are some of the aspects ASU fans like about the Alabama transfer. 

Bourguet, although smaller, has the upper hand thanks to experience within the Sun Devils program and overall chemistry with receivers. The coaching staff is more familiar with Bourguet thanks to his time as the man behind Daniels, which one could argue is either an advantage or disadvantage. 

Arizona State will only have 15 practices on the field in spring ball to see where each player is. Bourguet mostly appeared with the starters in Arizona State's opening day of work Tuesday, although Tyson also participated in some reps with the first team. 

Paul Tyson

Although it's unlikely we see a starter named this early in the process, the Sun Devils should know a lot more about their quarterback situation heading into April. 

In his press conference, Edwards expanded on what he and the rest of Arizona State's coaching staff are in search of in a starting quarterback.

He said, "Well, it's only the first day obviously (laughs). You have to see who can manage the offense. One key is to not turn the ball over, and that was a little bit of our Achilles heel last year. We turned the ball over, along with fouls. We have to get that corrected. The four bad halves we played, that showed up. Turnovers and fouls, and we fouled way too much last year.

"For the quarterback, it's who can run the offense, right? How do you move the offense? It's going to be kind of fun to watch; we've got some guys with some talent. We'll just let it play out and see where it's at."

Bourguet and Tyson have thrown only 28 combined passing attempts in regular -season games. The talent may be there, but experience is one factor neither bring to the table. 

This isn't Edwards' first time dealing with competition at quarterback. His first offseason with Arizona State saw two freshmen quarterbacks battle between Daniels and Joey Yellen for the starting job. 

Edwards also drew further back to his days in the NFL, saying his first season with the New York Jets came down to a competition between Chad Pennington and Vinny Testaverde. 

"I've been fortunate. When I was in New York I had Vinny Testaverde and Chad Pennington my first year as a head coach," Edwards reflected. "That was the deal. It was, 'OK who is the quarterback? Is it Vinny? Is it Chad?' It was Vinny. We hit a rough spot our second year, we were 2-5. I told Chad, 'You're quarterback' and we end up winning the division. We made the change.

"So I understand the competition of it. When Jayden first arrived with Joey, we didn't know (who was our guy), we just threw the ball out there and said whoever plays well is going to be the starter. It worked out to where we knew a freshman was going to start, and Jayden happened to be the guy. This year, we're throwing the ball out there. They'll all get to work with the first group, and we'll figure it out. That's all you can do, and then you got to make a decision."

The tone of the conversation then took an unexpected turn when Edwards alluded to the possibility of searching for another quarterback should ASU not see value in either Bourguet or Tyson.

"Is the quarterback here? Is he not here? We don't know that. Hopefully he's in the building. If not, there's always plan B (the transfer portal)," said Edwards. 

"I always said, a plan that can't be changed is a bad plan. So if you have a plan doing something and it has to be changed, you better be in a position to change it. And so we'll be in position to do what we have to do to make sure we get the best quarterback to play the position. 

"Hopefully the guy is here. I'd love for that to happen. We don't know that yet because it's the first day of practice. That's where it's at."

We'll see if the tone changes by the end of spring practice. For now, however, the battle for Arizona State's quarterback position is open to everybody and anybody, maybe even to someone not with the team at the moment. 

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