Inside ASU Football With Quarterbacks Coach Mark Helfrich

July 13, 2001

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    Coach Koetter has passed the pen to another member of his staff for a couple of weeks, Mark Helfrich. Coach Helfrich joined the ASU Football family last fall to continue his role as quarterback coach as he did the past three seasons with Koetter at Boise State. To learn more about Coach Helfrich click here, and enjoy his articles.

    Overwhelmed by the breadth of the cyber-pulpit, I will try to answer a few of the great questions asked by Sun Devil fans across the country - thanks to everyone who wrote. We'll try to get some sort of answer back to all who questioned.

    David from Oak Park, California, Mike from Glendale, and Glen from Chicago, Illinois all had a similar question: 'What attributes do you look for when evaluating a high school quarterback? Would you start a freshman?'

    This is a great question with a long answer, which I will distill down to some basics. In terms of off the field characteristics, we're looking for a great leader in and out of the classroom, a good character kid, and a kid who loves competition. On the field, we would like a quarterback who is productive and efficient, and whose team is productive and efficient because of him. We would prefer an athletic quarterback to a dropback type guy and would prefer a taller guy to a shorter guy. There is some give and take within all of those parameters, if a kid is 6-feet tall, raw as a passer, and a great athlete, we may be able to do more with him than a 6-5 guy who is average. By the same token if the 6-5 guy is a great passer and slow, he may end up being the guy. The best scenario is the ready-made tall, athletic guy with all of the intangibles. There are many other considerations - does he excel at other sports? Is he from a successful program? Is he tough? We have no prototype of X-height and Y-weight at quarterback. We want a guy who can make plays.

    Would we start a freshman? If he gives us the best chance to win and he's physically capable of withstanding the punishment, he's in the game.

    Mike from Tempe asked, 'What are the players able to do over the summer, besides the optional weights and conditioning program in order to become more familiar with the new offense?'

    We've had the good fortune of having all of our scholarship players in town this summer. They've been relentlessly working out with Joe Kenn and our strength and conditioning staff in preparation for the upcoming season. As far as our interaction, the NCAA does not allow us to be involved when our players are throwing and working on specific skill development during this phase. The players realize how competitive things are going to become as we get closer to kicking off the season, so many of them, and hopefully the majority, are involved in throwing, one on one, and other position specific drills.

    Max from Blue Diamond, NV writes, 'I've noticed that a percentage of Coach Koetter's running attack is a veer/option-type package. Will the taller QBs be expected to accomplish this facet of the running game?'

    While we don't run the 'veer,' we have incorporated some option into our plan in the past for two reasons. One, we could do it - we're not going to ask someone to do what they can't do. Two, it helps slow defenses down a little bit - when a defense sees option, there are several things that they can't do, thus simplifying the rest of their defense for us.

    Mick from Glendale writes, 'If you were a defensive coordinator, what scheme would you use to disrupt a quality passing attack?'

    I would try to make the quarterback be indecisive. Virtually every defense is trying in some way to pressure the quarterback - sometimes it's difficult to figure out, sometimes it's more easily solved. The trick for a defense - much like we try to be on offense - is unpredictability. Making the quarterback think too much leads to being late with the ball, which leads to turnovers.

    Thank you for all of the great questions... See you next week!

    Go Devils

    The next week of Inside ASU Football will again be 'Viewer's Choice.' Submit your questions along with your name and hometown by e-mail to: mark.helfrich@asu.edu

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