Samson Szakacsy wrapped up his first day as Arizona State’s third-string quarterback by staying late after practice to throw extra passes.
The work was part of the process of being ready in case the minute chance that he will play this season comes to fruition. The true freshman will likely redshirt, but just one injury …
“Something crazy could happen; you never know,” Szakacsy said on Tuesday. “I’ll have to prepare for the worst happening. You don’t expect it to, but I’ll be ready.”
Szakacsy (pronounced suh-KAY-chee) beat out Chasen Stagel, also a true freshman, for the No. 3 job. He figured to have the duties after an intrasquad scrimmage on Friday night, when the 6-foot-4, 200-pounder completed 6 of 7 passes and displayed good mobility.
“He’ll travel with us and hang with the offense as opposed to hanging out with the scout team,” coach Dennis Erickson said. “Hopefully, he won’t have to play. It had nothing to do with who is the guy of the future. We just felt that he had the best chance to be successful if we had to play one of them now.”
Szakacsy missed most of his senior year at Camarillo (Calif.) High with a leg injury. He was a highly regarded recruit, however, and orally committed to Southern California before signing with ASU.
The difference in the last few practices, he said, was better comfort with the offense. He acknowledged “not hitting the playbook as hard as I should’ve” early in camp.
“I have gotten a lot more confidence,” Szakacsy said. “I go in knowing what to do and where everyone else is going to be.”
The coaching staff will likely decide which true freshmen will play this season at a meeting on Thursday morning. Receiver Kerry Taylor and cornerback Omar Bolden remain the only sure bets.
Defensive tackle Jonathan English looks likely to play, but defensive end James Brooks’ fate is unclear. Dane Guthrie has emerged at end — the converted tight end worked with the first-team defense on Tuesday — but Luis Vasquez figures to miss the Sept. 1 opener against San Jose State due to a high ankle sprain.
“(Vasquez) is ahead of schedule, but the way it looks now, he’s doubtful,” Erickson said.
The receiving corps continued to limp, as Brandon Smith (ankle) will have a magnetic resonance imaging exam today, and Rudy Burgess (calf) did not practice because the Sun Devils were in full pads.
Erickson said that the offense bounced back from a sporadic performance in Friday’s scrimmage. “We looked better offensively than we have in five or six days,” Erickson said. “The offensive coaches were a little happier than they have been.”
About 65 walk-on candidates tried out on Monday, and Erickson said that “six or seven” will receive calls today to join the squad.