Eubank has sights set on starting

Despite a disappointing conclusion to the 2011 season, expectations and intrigue are high for the Devils with a number of interesting story lines to follow, none bigger than the controversy at quarterback. With Brock Osweiler gone, it's time for a new signal caller in Tempe, and redshirt freshman Michael Eubank insists he's up for the challenge.

For the Sun Devils, the first day of practice resembled nothing like it had in recent years. Unique uniformity, fuming intensity and of course, high-octane offense fueled the afternoon as coach Graham welcomed players and fans to a new attitude for Sun Devil football.

"It went pretty well," said a noticeably exhausted Michael Eubank afterwards. "Slow tempo though, we've got to pick it up. I mean, it was the first day and we've got to work out some kinks, but we did much better than I thought we would.

"But we're not up to the coaches' expectations yet and we definitely have got to get there."

You only get one chance to make a first impression, and on Tuesday the new coaching staff made quite an impression on their players. While the season doesn't start for months, you felt like it was only weeks away by the frenetic pace and demand for energy by the staff.

"They're hard-nosed and old-school," said Eubank of the new staff. "They're very 'in your face' type coaches which is something this program desperately needed. It's something that we needed and it's a good change to finally have and I really appreciate them coming here because like I said, it's something we needed."

Last year, Eubank arrived in the summer and promptly found himself behind the other three quarterbacks already on the ASU roster as fall camp began. He was relegated to scout team duties where he led the offense as the primary quarterback. Despite not getting a chance o play with the regular starters on offensive last season in practice, Eubank credits his time on the scout team for his development as a quarterback.

"I definitely learned that leadership is key," he commented. "Body language is also a key, because you've got to show your team that you're willing to take it, no matter what the risk is or what time of the game it is, and that they can depend on you."

Being a leader is something that Eubank insists has always come natural to him. This offseason has just given him the chance to embrace, leading his teammates in a number of ways both on and off the field as they prepared for the spring practice sessions to begin.

"I've definitely been getting in the film room a lot, being around my teammates a lot, and making sure they come to me, as their leader," said Eubank on his approach to the offseason. "Definitely just trying to put the team together and show them that I can put this team on my back."

Aside from intangibles, Eubank says he has spent considerable time since the conclusion of last season working on his throwing technique, undoubtedly hearing some of the criticism about his unorthodox, yet effective, throwing style.

"My throwing has definitely improved a lot," he remarked. "I would have to say my accuracy is much improved. My timing has improved. The way my elbow comes off and my release have both improved. I feel much better with how I've improved."

This offseason, things are a bit different for Eubank and the other Sun Devil quarterbacks. The unexpected departure of Brock Osweiler has created an opening at the starting position and caused for much speculation lading up o the first day of spring practice.

From being a scout team participant just a few short months ago to being in a full-fledged QB battle now, Eubank maintains that he's comfortable with the situation and confident in his ability to perform at the level his coaches expect him to.

"I'm definitely comfortable doing the things that they're asking us (quarterbacks) to do," he commented. "They have the quarterback doing a lot of little things with the run and the pass. We're going to be a big part of the offensive scheme and I'm really excited to get out there and utilize my legs and my speed."

Eubank credits new strength and conditioning coach Shawn Griswold for helping with his development as well. The conditioning expectation for the quarterbacks has increased this offseason, something that Eubank believes will help him going forward as the new offensive schemes call for the quarterbacks in the Sun Devil system to be more active than before.

"We do everything," exclaimed Eubank on the change in conditioning philosophies for the quarterbacks. "We don't sit out one thing. We run with the team, we lift with the team; everything that the team does, we're there. We're all united, one as a team.

"We do anything Coach Griswold tells us to do," he added. "He's a great strength and conditioning coach and he has us prepared to face any battle and run through any brick wall."

So with the first practice already in the books, Sun Devil fans can start to speculate form an opinion on who the next Sun Devil starting quarterback should be. And while all three candidates (Mike Bercovici and Taylor Kelly) are capable and talented, Eubank feels more than up to the task.

"My number one personal goal is of course to come out as the number one starting quarterback," he said confidently. "Obviously my other top goal is to bring this team together as a unit and not just as a group of individuals so we can come together as one and win a Rose Bowl and Pac-12 championship.

"I'm very confident in myself," he continued. "I believe in my teammates and believe that they have that same belief in me. I feel I can do anything I put my mind to. With the help of God and praying, staying in tune with Him, I can do all things with Christ. So I know through Him I can do anything."

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