JC Safety Proving To Be An Immediate Impact

The traditional path of JC transfers entails a rough first year, followed a much improved senior campaign. Maurice London, one of ASU's starting safeties has been down that exact road. Nevertheless, the other starter Zach Catanese has buck that common trend. The first-year player from Shasta College shined in fall camp, and is second on the team in tackles with 16. The safety told Devils Digest that he's humbled by his success, and would like very much like to continue on the road less traveled.

"Going into Camp T I didn't know if I was a starter," said the 6-3 219 Zach Catanese, "and I really didn't know until a week before Temple that I was starting. Now that I have that spot I'll take advantage of it and do my best. I worked a lot on my fundamentals. (ASU Safeties) Coach Fidler was on me all the time to get better at that – knowing who to read, and just being a student of the game."

Aside from Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Week Dale Robinson, Catanese was the only other Sun Devil to notch a double digit tackle game against LSU with 12. Some players can anticipate a good game in the days leading up to the contest, but the junior is very even keel when it comes to having these notions. "I feel the same way before every game," Catanese claimed. "After the game, whether I have three tackles or 14, I feel the same. Winning is all that matters. If we win I feel good and if we lose I don't, and it doesn't matter how many tackles I had. Once I watch game tape, and if I get praise from my coaches, I can carry that confidence into next week and get better."

The safety and the rest of the Sun Devil defense turned in a spectacular performance against LSU for the first three quarters, and limited the Tigers to only one touchdown. Catanese feels that the team's preparation was key for that display on the field. "Coach Miller and all the coaches prepared us so well," he stated. "We had two-hour meetings every day, and watched a lot of film. We knew exactly what was gonna happen. We were off the field for seven minutes, and then there was a big momentum swing…the defense gave up big plays in the fourth quarter it was just a bunch things that made us lose."

Catanese is ready to put that heartbreaking defeat behind him, and if anything else use that game as motivation for the team's upcoming contest. "It was a tough loss, but the more we think about, the more (ticked) off we get. We moved on and we're looking forward to Northwestern. Hopefully we can use all those feelings and take it out on Northwestern."

"They (Northwestern) have a very fast, athletic quarterback," Catanese continued. "He can move and he can throw. He has a lot of intangibles other quarterbacks don't have, and he's a big key for them. If we can get to him, the game will be in our hands. They're a very good team, and I think it will be a good game."

Much has been written about the quality leadership on the Sun Devil squad, and Catanese brought up the words of fifth year center Grayling Love, and how they put everything in perspective. "He made a big point and said that win or lose, we're still a big family. That's huge, because this loss, even though it hurt us a lot, it helped us bond more than ever."

As far as his own leadership skills Catanese commented: "When I'm flying around 100 miles an hour, and if guys look at that…I hope they get inspired. If I can spread that leadership on the team, I'll take that role." And with a solid start to the 2005 season, his teammates would be wise to heed his play and follow suit.

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