Quarterback issues loom before Arizona State-Washington State football game
Arizona State is sticking with quarterback Danny Sullivan, and the Cougars hope to start freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel.
Arizona St. @ WSU, 2 p.m.
PULLMAN — Arizona State quarterback Danny Sullivan waited patiently for three years.
He did the things people ask of a backup. This was to be his year. Three-year starter Rudy Carpenter had graduated. It was Sullivan's time.
And yet ...
Four games into the 2009 season, Sullivan's play is under fire. After ASU's 28-17 loss to Oregon State, Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley, among others, called for a change at quarterback. What's surprising is neither ASU nor Sullivan are doing that badly.
The Sun Devils are 2-2, 0-1 in the Pac-10.
Sullivan's play, while not spectacular, has been at least competent. The senior is completing better than 50 percent of his passes. He's thrown three touchdown passes and has just two interceptions. He's averaging more than 200 yards passing per game.
And yet ...
"This is not the way I want to be playing right now," Sullivan said this week, "and it's not the way I intended it to be. I need to get myself better and help this team."
The calls for a switch to freshman Brock Osweiler, the 6-foot-8 former Gonzaga basketball commit, escalated after the OSU defeat.
"While Sullivan isn't bad, turnover prone or susceptible to brain cramps, he doesn't make the plays that seem to gush from great quarterbacks," Bickley wrote.
And head coach Dennis Erickson seemed to agree, saying after the game the quarterback position would be re-evaluated. Monday, Erickson came down in Sullivan's camp.
"He will start this game against Washington State," Erickson said. "Does that mean Brock won't play? No. I have not decided that yet, and I won't make that decision until the end of the week."
• Cougars freshman quarterback Jeff Tuel expects to start against Arizona State. Tuel was knocked out of last week's loss to Oregon in the first quarter with a back injury. Before Tuesday's practice, coach Paul Wulff said he wasn't sure about Tuel's status, but that he would start if healthy. Tuel took plenty of snaps during Tuesday's practice, including some limited-contact drills. Tuel last week became only the second true-freshman quarterback in WSU history, after Drew Bledsoe, to start a game.
The Associated Press
contributed to this story.
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