Shivers Ready For "Moment of Truth" Game

Following a biter defeat to Iowa, and just days before the beginning of Pac-10 play, the standout ASU safety realizes the magnitude of the meeting with Oregon State. After all, he has always experienced close fought battles with the Beavers. In this DevilsDigest interview, Jason Shivers talks about the looming match up, and his personal success on and off the field.

"This game seems to be our moment of truth every year," says the junior about the upcoming game in Corvallis. "All the games with them come down to the fourth quarter. I'm not overlooking this game at all. We'll have to battle hard to win this game." Shivers was of the few bright spots in the Iowa loss, tying a career high 17 tackles. However, under the circumstances it was definitely a bittersweet feeling for him. "I guess that's how it is sometimes. This week I want to get the win and have another career week. It will feel better getting a game ball…it felt good playing well, but now I'm ready to focus on Oregon State this week." The safety adds that it was fun for him to play a team like Iowa, which he has followed for a while now.

Shivers says the team's psyche is much stronger than people would expect following such a demoralizing defeat. And some of that he attributes to his and his teammates' experiences the last couple of seasons. "Coach Koetter told us to keep our heads up, and stay focused. He said this wasn't the game of the century that will break our season. He gave us some uplifting words so we can practice hard for Oregon State…a lot of us have been together for a while, and we have been through these tough losses like North Carolina and Cal last year. We've been able to learn how to bounce back. Having seniority on the team helps you do that." He also mentions that the treatments that he and his teammates receive on Monday aren't only therapeutic for the body, but for the mind and soul as well. "You kind of cleanse it out when you get treatment, and just talk about the game. Today, I didn't even think about Iowa until I came to the field (for practice) right now. I'm just focused on playing the Oregon State Beavers and getting a win."

The junior calls the Sun Devils' next opponent a well-balanced team that can hurt you via the air and ground. Nevertheless, he does like his squad's chances on the road this week. "Every year we have a good game plan as far as their offensive scheme. Our defense matches up with their offense." Shivers who has led the team in tackles in his first two years in the maroon and gold, naturally lists that category as one of his biggest goals. "This weekend I'm gonna make the same amount of tackles, and try to for 20 (smile). I also want to get a pick or a forced fumble. I'm gonna try and bring it to (OSU's running back) Stephen Jackson, and wear him down the whole game. That's my main goal."

Shivers is part of a very talented trio of safeties, which ignited the imagination of all the Sun Devil flowers, as well as the coaches. Unfortunately, various injuries in all the games thus far have prevented this unit to showcase itself in full strength for long periods of times. "Right now it's kinda of frustrating," says the safety. "We're all playing so hard trying to catch up to each other. When they (the other two safeties) were hurt I was playing, and when I was hurt they were out there…we should be able to find the rotation now, and this will be the week where we all play."

However, even when all three aren't on the field at the same time, that doesn't mean the communication stops. Especially, when the player on the sidelines is fellow safety Riccardo Stewart. "Riccardo and I talk the whole game," exclaims Shivers. "It was kinda crazy seeing him get hit with a helmet in the ribs and being on the sideline. I told him to keep his head up, and he was giving me the checks from the sidelines – ‘look for this, look for that.' I wish it was like the NFL where I would have a speaker in my helmet (smile)."

Not only is Jason Shivers the ultimate teammate between the lines, but off the field he exhibits some of his fine attributes. The 21-year old owns a landscaping company, and over the summer he employed fellow teammate and South Mountain high school graduate Tyrice Thompson. "Tyrice was working with me in the summer. I pretty much took him under my wing like a little brother. He was working under the president of my company Leroy Williams, who's running things for me as we speak. Other than that, business stays outside of football. I try to keep them unconnected. It's nice to come here and do football, and off the field do business or do family stuff. My life can get hectic, so I try to keep each thing separate. It's pretty cool though."

The enterprise endeavors don't stop there for Shivers. He's in the process of starting a "Small leadership organization for African-Americans to help them learn entrepreneurship. I'm looking to do some business with (ASU teammate) Jermaine McKinney in marketing." The safety admits that he his applied Coach Koetter's organizational skills, admired by many football pundits, to his company. "I've learned that being organized saves you a lot of time and a lot of money." And being organized and disciplined could serve Shivers and his Sun Devil comrades well as they try to right the ship that veered away from its promising course, headed to troubled waters.

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