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Monday, August 21, 2006

Arizona State Coach Changes Mind

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State coach Dirk Koetter abruptly changed his mind and decided to make sophomore Rudy Carpenter the Sun Devils' starting quarterback.

Senior Sam Keller, named the starter Friday, was excused from the Sun Devils' practice Sunday night and is considering transferring to another school.

"It's simple. I made a mistake on the quarterback situation and I'm changing my mind," Koetter said after Sunday's workout. "We're going to start Rudy Carpenter. I've excused Sam Keller from practice to consider his options."

Koetter said he decided to make the switch Saturday and told the quarterbacks later that day.

"Coach Koetter just said, 'Hey, I'm going to do what's best for the team. I'm going to do what the team wants,'" Carpenter said. "I think the decision is going to affect the team in the best way and this is what we're going to do."'

The team was told at a meeting Sunday afternoon.

"There's a lot of things that have happened," Carpenter said. "I'm not going to go into details about it, but with the quarterback situation like this, sometimes those things just happen."

According to the East Valley Tribune, several players requested a meeting with Koetter after the initial decision and told the coach they believed the job should go to Carpenter.

Neither Koetter nor Carpenter would confirm that the meeting took place.

"I talked to so many people about this," Koetter said. "This has been weighing heavy on my mind for a long, long time and I'm the one that screwed it up. I have to live with it. I'm also the one who has to fix it."

The 24th-ranked Sun Devils open their season Oct. 31 at home against Northern Arizona.

Keller has a redshirt season available, or he could transfer to an NCAA Division I-AA school and play immediately. Koetter said Keller is welcome to stay.

"I know the rumor is flying around there that he's been booted off the team. That's not true," Koetter said. "If Sam wants to come be our No. 2 quarterback, then we'd love to have him."



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