Erickson: Threet to remain starting QB

Throughout the bye week, some changes were seen in the Sun Devils practice sessions, particularly with sophomore quarterback, Brock Osweiler sharing first-team reps with Steven Threet. Head coach Dennis Erickson however downplayed that split in repetitions.

"As soon as he got healthy with that back, he has taken some reps with the 1's so don't put anything into it," Erickson stated. "We just let him do some things to see if he's getting better but Steven is the starter and that's not going to change right now.

"It kind of depends on how it goes and how Steven it playing but there is no reason we can't put Brock in, but right now there is no plan, specifically to put him in at a particular time."

Osweiler sidelined for a few weeks due to a minor back injury but has fully bounced back and continuing his improvement at signal caller.

"He's looked good," Erickson commented. "As soon as he came back from that back injury he has gotten better and better all the time. You can see he is a lot healthier and he is throwing the ball a lot better, a lot more accurate and making better decisions because he is taking turns. He had a good week of practice during the bye week."

The Sun Devils have two remaining chances for to redeem themselves and try to finish at a 6-6 record. First up for the maroon and gold is a date with the UCLA on Friday at Sun Devil Stadium. The Bruins, coming off a 24-7 loss to the Washington Huskies, have experienced similar woes to the Sun Devils and find themselves also seeking two additional wins to secure bowl eligibility.

"They've had an up and down season," Erickson said. "Like of like us in a lot of ways, we're very similar. They're in a position where they have to win their next two games to go to a bowl game. They have a lot of talent, they are young in some areas, specifically defensively but I've been impressed.

"They're playing with some young players but they have some outstanding players. I think Rahim Moore, who we tried to recruit here a few years ago, is probably the best safety in the country and he's playing extremely well for them. Their offense is run by Johnathan Franklin. They're running the football and they're in the pistol and they've had a lot of success running the football. Their offensive front is very senior orientated."

Friday's matchup against the Bruins, Erickson and his team will bid farewell to their 13 seniors. This will be the last time theses players will take the field at Sun Devils Stadium, with hopes of ending their career in the maroon and gold on a positive note.

"These are always difficult games for the seniors that are playing and have been here a long time," Erickson admitted. "You go through them all but you look at Saia (Falahola), (Gerald) Munns, (Jon) Hargis, (Kerry) Taylor, you can go through all of them and they've all contributed, Max Tabach and (Thomas) Weber. It's a good group, it's not a very big group but it's a good group that has contributed ever since they've been here.

"We want them to go out the right way so it's important that we all play well because we always want the seniors to go out on their last game at home and that's huge for us."

Fifth-year senior, Jon Hargis has not only been a valuable asset to the Sun Devils offensive line, but also showed his dedication to the game after rehabilitating a torn ACL in only six months.

"I can talk forever about Hargis," Erickson confessed. "But when you look back at his career, I can look back with a smile because the first year I was here he was a defensive tackle and played on that team that won 10 games. Then we moved him to offense and he made that change, then the knee surgery and how he fought back and can play now."

Another standout of the 2010 season, punter Trevor Hankins, is averaging 45.5 yards per punt, second in the Pac-10, which has proven to be one of the most valuable assets to the struggling maroon and gold offense.

"He has come a long ways," Erickson stated. "He spent a lot of time becoming better, particularly in the off-season and in the summer when he worked with people that could help him with his punting. He has punted extremely well for us and has made a difference in the field position with that's happened in the last couple of years, and particularly this year, he punted very well for us. He is a guy that walked on and earned a scholarship and has done really well."

Defensively, the Sun Devils will face a challenge with an experienced Bruins offense that has averaged 19.4 points per game, but at times has shown to be a dangerous unit and one that will require creativity from the ASU defense.

"Their passing game, a lot of times, it's a seven-man protection," Erickson remarked. "They keep their tight-end in quite a bit, they play with two receivers most of the time so a lot of their passing came, it's hard to get to them because of that. We have to create some blitzes but a lot of our blitzes that we use can be used against seven-man protection and a lot of our blitzes are because of what they do in the running game too."

The man who is in charge of preparing the maroon and gold defense is one that has been known for his desire for perfection. Defensive coordinator, Craig Bray is now in his fourth season at Arizona State and throughout that time his guidance has yielded positive results.

"Craig is very smart, really understands the game and has been around for a long period of time," Erickson described. "He believes in the system but he's not a guy that changes things a lot. He spends time on things and if he sees something that he likes, he's going to add that.

"He is very demanding of his players and assistant coaches and if you do something wrong he's going to tell you exactly how it is. He loves the game and has been great for this program. He is a great motivator and obviously we play good defense for the most part, the last four years that we've been here."

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