Schwab ready for a turnaround

Naturally many of the apparent changes during ASU's spring practice are a direct result of first-year head coach Todd Graham's philosophy. Yet, there has been one noticeable transformation that was derived from another source. A trimmer Brice Schwab may have been one of the biggest eye openers last week as the senior offensive lineman is determined to finally make his mark known in Tempe.

Brice Schwab was one of the later additions to Arizona State's 2010 recruiting class, but by no means was he an afterthought. The four-star offensive lineman from Palomar Junior College decommitted from USC following the resignation of then Head Coach Pete Carroll and the Sun Devils were one of several BCS team pursuing Schwab.

The offensive lineman's official visit to Tempe was supposed to be the first of many for this sought after prospect, but ultimately it was also his last visit to any of his suitors. Schwab enrolled at ASU as mid-year JC transfer and was by far the biggest recruiting coup the Sun Devils had pulled last year.

Schwab was slated to aid the team's much needed deficiency at offensive tackle, and was projected to start at that role. Yet that plan didn't exactly come to fruition. After struggling in 2010's spring practice he was still given a chance both at tackle and guard during the season. However, after the first four games that year he was regulated to reserve duty.

In 2011 the coaching staff decided to redshirt Schwab so he wouldn't exhaust his last season of eligibility without having a probable chance to start. This prompted murmurs among some ASU fans labeling him as the proverbial recruiting bust. Nonetheless, that same group is now marveling at a svelte Schwab who has been able to hold off the competition at starting right tackle.

Schwab claimed that whether people have criticized him or praised him, that he has tuned that feedback out.

"I don't listen to anyone really," Schwab said. "I have no regrets about what happened my first two years here and where I'm at now. I just keep my mind clear and try to reach my goals and that is what I'm striving for.

"I'm just living with everything that happened until now and I'm ready to move on. It's all about you and what you want to accomplish."

The lineman stated that his heaviest weight at ASU was 348 lbs. and that these days his weight fluctuates between 297-300 lbs. which is generally the range of weight he's like to stay in.

"As long as my footwork keeps going the way it's going," Schwab said, "and right now it's going pretty well, I'm comfortable at that weight. I think I'm going to try and slim down to 295 lbs. and if I need to gain some muscle I don't think it will be that hard."

Schwab added that his dedication to re-shape his body certainly involved a good measure of sacrifice on his part.

"I didn't go home over Christmas break to see my family," Schwab recalled, "because I had a sense of urgency since I got benched. I came back with the team (from the Las Vegas Bowl) and just stayed here to work out. That has just been my mindset since I got benched in my first year – just to get better and prove to myself that I can play better.

"I'm not out to prove anyone else wrong, this is just about me and proving to myself."

Coming into this season, it has already been well chronicled how inexperienced the offensive line is compared to 2011. An improved Schwab will be a welcomed sight to say the least for a position that is definitely work in progress in terms of indentifying its depth chart.

Schwab has played both at guard and tackle during his time at ASU. During his redshirt year the Sun Devils' previous staff seemed resigned to regulate his to guard, but with a new regime in place the senior has been taking first team reps at right tackle. Whether it is his personal direction or the overall direction of the team, Schwab has confidence in the plan Graham and his staff are laying out.

"Wherever the coaches want to play me I'm fine with it," Schwab said. "I really like this coaching staff because they are all about unity and being accountable for your actions. They expect our 100 percent on every play and they won't settle for less. That is something that gets you motivated to come to practice everyday, because you know you are going to get better.

"They really excite you and as a player you are excited with everything that is happening. They are bringing back the power run game and hardnosed football and that really excites me. They are also really big on technique which can only help you get better and be the best you can possibly be which is my goal."

Schwab knows the coaching staff would like him to be one of the leaders on offense. The senior confessed that he is a "less talk, more work" type of player and that he could be more of a leader by example. With his demonstrated commitment to conditioning and his the climb against all odds up the depth chart, younger offensive linemen would be probably be served well to take notice of Schwab's journey.

"The redshirt year helped me a lot and helped me set my priorities straight," Schwab said. "I made the choice that I'm ready to fully commit to football. Everything that happened the first two years really gave me a chip on my shoulder, especially with people calling me a bust. The new coaches said that they knew about me and that they were going to give me my confidence back and that's what's happening right now.

"Having new coaches gives you a new slate and allows you to prove yourself right now and that is all that matters. I'm still going to have that chip on my shoulder going into fall practice and be pedal to the metal and give my 100 percent everyday."

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