Eubank confident, eager for spring

Sometimes things just have a way for working out in the end. Last January, freshman Michael Eubank nearly committed to the University Pittsburgh before finally becoming a Sun Devil. Now, after the recent coaching change at Arizona State, the quarterback will be reunited with the coach he had a difficult time saying no to, and that has him very excited for the future.

Michael Eubank, who redshirted this year, has led the Arizona State scout team throughout the season, helping the Sun Devil defense prepare for the various offensive looks they could expect to see from their opponents on a week to week basis. However, despite not being able to play with the offensive regulars, Eubank insists that he's learned a plethora of valuable lessons and has grown considerably in his six months in Tempe.

"I've definitely improved on my quickness," said Eubank after Sunday's practice. "When I first got here, I wasn't used to the quickness of the offense. Even though I've been doing the scout team, it's still pretty quick, so I've just been over there learning how to be quick and also the fundamentals of our offense.

"I think I still need to work more on my passing though, especially being that I wasn't able to work with (offensive coordinator) Coach Mazzone as much this season. Working with these new coaches coming in will hopefully enhance my passing a lot more."

Running the scout team and facing the physical and swarming Sun Devil defense on a regular basis was quite the learning curve for Eubank, but ultimately was a challenge he has successfully dealt with. At 6'-5" and 235 pounds, he's a physically imposing young man on the football field, even as a freshman. But don't let his age fool you; he's a leader and just waiting for his chance.

"I learned more leadership skills, being that nobody wants to be over there," said Eubank about his role on the scout team. "You've got to be a leader and help the troops get ready for battle each week. I've gotten better with my vocal skills and with my actions.

"Leadership is something that comes natural to me. I've been a leader pretty much all my life, having to grow up fast. And playing this position, you've got to be a leader; you really don't have a choice. But it's definitely something that I have inside of me."

Thankfully for Eubank, he's benefitted from getting to learn from starter Brock Osweiler, who turned in a fantastic season statistically this year for the Sun Devils, both in practice and on game days. Besides trying to emulate the way Osweiler runs the offense, he says he's learned the most just by watching how Osweiler prepares himself each day.

"Definitely his intensity level," said Eubank on what he has learned the most from the Sun Devil starter. "The guy comes in and he wants to work hard, he wants to get the best out of everybody. So definitely just the intensity. Also, seeing his leadership skills and how he never gives up on anybody. He's always picking people up if the mess up on a route or mess up on a block."

For now, Eubank, and the rest of his Sun Devil teammates, are looking forward to making an impression on new Arizona State head coach, Todd Graham. While most players and fans are still trying to get to know their new coach, Eubank says he naturally feels pretty comfortable with Graham, given that Graham almost lured him away from ASU in the final days of last year's recruiting cycle.

"It's definitely a good relationship," Eubank about acknowledged. "There are no hard feelings about me picking Arizona State, they understand why. It's going to be a really good time. I'm looking forward to it, definitely, and working with all the coaches. I have a really good relationship with all of them.

"They understand where I come from and what I can do and what I can bring to the team, so they're definitely going to put me in."

Eubank admitted that he nearly changed his commitment to the maroon and gold in favor of the proposed Graham offense at Pitt, but instead held firm in the end. Now, he may get his wish, which is something he's looking forward to.

"The most interesting aspect to me about Pitt was just the offense they were going to bring," commented Eubank. "They wanted me to be a key part of the offense as a freshman and that was definitely attractive to me. But I came here because it was closer to home. It's the only reason why I didn't go there, I just wanted to be closer to home.

"I would say the offense they want to bring, the offense they were talking about bringing to Pitt, if they bring the same thing, then definitely, I think I'll be better suited for that."

For the second straight year, Arizona State doesn't expect to have any sort of quarterback controversy, at least in terms of who will assume the starting duties. However, fans can start speculating in the spring about the renewed back up battle, as Eubank looks forward to showing everyone how far he's come and what kind of potential he packs.

"Everybody has to compete," he said. "Nobody is entitled to anything. So I'm going to come into spring ready to compete, and you know, God has a plan for me, so I'm just going to leave everything in His hands and just pray for the best."

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