It is often said that a good scrambling quarterback possesses a mental alarm clock that signals him when to tuck the ball under his arm, leave the pocket and run.
If that is the case, then Rudy Carpenter kept hitting the snooze button in his first start for Arizona State last week. The redshirt freshman threw for 401 yards in leading the Sun Devils to a win against Washington, but was sacked seven times.
Carpenter aims to be more eager to run if need be on Saturday, when ASU visits Washington State.
"I’ve told myself that if things break down, I have to make a decision to throw it away or run," Carpenter said. "Last week, I was trying to find guys open instead of making that decision. This week, I need to do that faster. It’s all part of the learning curve."
With Carpenter’s scrambling ability, ASU possesses an added dimension that it
did not have with Andrew Walter or Sam Keller at QB.
"We’re not coaching Rudy to run, but a quarterback like him has a feel to run," coach Dirk Koetter said. "Either (a QB) has it or he doesn’t. . . . Rudy has it, but it didn’t show up last week. He’ll get that alarm clock that tells him to take off as he gets more comfortable out there."
The forecast for Pullman, Wash., on Saturday is not exactly chamber-of-commerce weather: A high temperature in the mid-40s, with rain and an outside chance of snow flurries.
The Sun Devils will not have to make footwear adjustments, as the Field Turf at Martin Stadium holds up under wet conditions. However, Koetter said the elements are always a challenge.
"There are not many coldweather games in the Pac-10, but that is one of them," Koetter said. Pullman in November is not a vacation spot. . . . I’ll be glad when we switch the calendar rotation, so we don’t have to go there in November. It’s much easier to go there in September."
In 2007, ASU will visit WSU on Oct. 6. It is tentatively slated to return to Pullman again in ’08, likely in September.
NOT SO FAST, CHAD
When Chad Christensen was tabbed as Carpenter’s backup at quarterback, Koetter said the graduate student’s time at other positions — he plays tailback, receiver and on special teams — would be limited.
However, that is not going to be the case, at Christensen’s request. With only three games, possibly four, left in his football career, he still wants to be on the field as much as possible.
"Chad has a few games left, and they mean a lot to him," Koetter said on his weekly radio show on Thursday. "He wants to be in there. He has given a lot of himself to this program, and I feel we need to honor that."