By Kaelen Jones
Typically, spring games conducted months ahead of the college football season starting don’t reveal much.
However, for the Arizona State Sun Devils, while Saturday’s festivities at Sun Devil Stadium won’t tell fans everything they want to know about the team, the setting will allow judgment to be passed regarding the program’s most pressing question this offseason — Who will be the team’s starting quarterback?
It's always been more than just a game. Use your platform to INSPIRE, thankful for this opportunity.. 🙏 FF ☔️5️⃣ pic.twitter.com/nkk5eiuYwz
— Manny Wilkins Jr. (@Manny_Wilkins5) April 13, 2017
The two signal-callers have the most riding on their performances in the spring game. That’s not to say either one will secure the job by outplaying the other Saturday, but it’s the first and only chance fans will have to see either in action for themselves.
If either Wilkins or Barnett outperforms the other, we know how the fanbase will respond: Zealously lobby for Barnett to swiftly be named the starter, or work to convince themselves Wilkins can and/or has improved enough to earn another shot at holding the role.
Having viewed both competitors compete in limited scope thus far, it’s still Wilkins’ job to lose more so than it is Barnett’s to claim, even amidst a recent string of good practice showings for the latter.
Final ASU practice before Saturday’s Spring Game is now in the books and Todd Graham said it was the best @Blake8Barnett has had yet.
— SunDevilSource.com (@SunDevilSource) April 12, 2017
Though head coach Todd Graham has suggested throughout the spring that the intangibles and leadership qualities will be what ultimately determines who wins the job, those traits will only be expected to supplement play on the field. This means chemistry with the receivers and comfort level directing the offense will be key, and as of now, Wilkins has the edge in that department.
Saturday will give others the chance to determine who’s ahead for themselves, but it’s clear there’s no other group with more riding on their performance this weekend.