First Year Shivers? Not With This Free Safety

True freshman free safety Jason Shivers has been a pleasant surprise among the struggling ASU defense this season. The local South Mountain high school graduate has combined his speed and power to lead the Sun Devils in tackles. In this interview, Shivers talks about his success on the field, and the challenges that face a true freshman on this team.

Q: Last week 15 tackles, the week before 17 tackles. I guess things have been OK lately (smile)?

A: Things have been going good. I'm just playing my part on defense. It's all good. I'm just playing the defense, and now that I understand more I can be successful. I'm learning more and more each week, and I'm happy that I'm showing results.

Q: Has your recent success been bitter sweet because when you were playing so well, the team lost back to back?

A: You could say that. But I don't think about my stats. I don't know how many tackles I have until someone tells me. I still play hard no matter if we're ahead or behind. I just need to make plays to prevent the other team from scoring. The tackles are nice, but we didn't get the wins. So I can't say I'm happy about that.

Q: Having all this success while being a true freshman, is it easier or harder to deal with?

A: You can say it has been hard. As a freshman you have other standards to meet. You have to go to academic meetings, study hall, and stuff like that. You have veteran players always trying to push you harder. Mentaly and physically it's hard, but if you can come through, it does show what kind of player and person you are. I'm just trying to do my best right now.

Q: You're voted captain by the coaches for the Washington State game, and that's an honor that truer freshmen rarely get. How proud are you of that?

A: Oh man, I real proud to be the captain. It's nice when folks outside the team compliment you, but when its your teammates or coaches, it's always gonna be different. You just appreciate it that more. It really motivates you to play harder.

Q: How has life been for you at ASU as true freshman, especially off the field?

A: The school part has been testing and easy at the same time. You just need to get down the routine of going to school, and going the practice. Once you get that down, and you're able to manage your time, you'll be OK.

Q: You're playing aside two veteran safeties in Al Williams and Willie Daniel. To be honest, they're both having though years. I know they try and help you out a lot, but at the same time they're trying to adjust to their new roles in the defense. Can you talk about their influence on you?

A: They both have had some injuries, so it's been kinda hard on them. They do a good job of pointing a lot of things out to me in practice and games, and I thank them for that. If it wasn't for them I wouldn't have the success I'm having. I can't speak for them, but from what I see they're having fun playing out there. That's what the game is all about is having fun. It's good that they're still having fun out there.

Q: You speak of having fun, but I can imagine that after back-to-back losses the morale on the team is kind of low right now.

A: I think we were down up until today. We had a team meeting earlier, and I think that the guys have their head back on straight now. We're going in the right direction. We saw Washington State on film, and they're a good team. But we see some tendencies we can exploit, so we're excited for this game. We'll see how practice goes today, but I think we'll have good practices this week and be ready for Washington State.

Q: Lastly, has this season gone much better than you thought it would be, or are you still not satisfied?

A: My first expectation was not to redshirt, and play every game, and I did that. I'm happy that I'm playing well and people are taking notice. I'm just living it up and enjoying the moment day after day, after the season, and then I really can reflect on the season and appreciate all I accomplished.

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