Chad of All Trades

Aside from his four starts in 2002, Chad Christensen hasn't thrown one single pass in the maroon and gold. Nevertheless, his demeanor on and off the field, as well as his work ethic on the gridiron and in the classroom, have proven invaluable for his team. Only a true Sun Devil like Christensen would stay aboard despite not realizing his dream as the squad's quarterback.

Chad of All Trades "Coming here after watching ASU games growing up – this is where I wanted to be," he said. "I wanted to play at Sun Devil stadium with the maroon and gold on. For me, things didn't work out as successfully as I wanted them to, but to be part of this family and football tradition is something that is very special to me. That outweighed me wanting to transfer or do anything else." Christensen won the scout player of year award on offense in the 2001 season, and is a two-time hard hat winner for his performance in the off-season conditioning program.

If you blink during a game, you may miss Christensen coming on or off the field. Aside form being the holder for kicker Jesse Ainsworth, the Scottsdale Desert Mountain product has also lined up at running back and wide receiver. True to form, the senior has no preferences as to what position he plays on the field. "I've been fortunate to play so many positions and have some great players at each position teach me," he remarked. "No matter what position you play, when you step in between those white lines you feel a charge."

Constantly being a move, can maybe explain the rate at which his five years in the program have gone by. However, long lasting memories were made during that period. "They went by very fast, but they were times when it felt it was dragging," Christensen admitted. "Sometimes I was asking ‘How many more days of spring ball? How many more days of camp T?'…I have a lot of good memories like the Sun Bowl and the Holiday bowl. But the two biggest ones that stick out in my mind is one when Terrell Suggs was here, and I threw a pitch, the ball came back to me, and I de-celated him. One day I can say that this guy had 100 sacks in the NFL and I got him (smile). The other was making my first start playing at Nebraska – in the stadium where I watched my first ever college game. That was real special to me."

These days the duel in the desert looms large on the minds of every ASU player. This goes tenfold for players like Christensen who attended high school in the valley. "It's huge to me," he explained. "Arizona State-Arizona, it doesn't get any bigger down here. No matter what your record is, you get a win over you rival – that will last the whole year and you'll have bragging rights. I grew up a Sun Devil fan and any time that team down south wins I'm not too happy. We won the Sun Bowl last year, but that loss to U of A was always in the back of our minds. Even the younger players understand how big this game is."

A rivalry consumed with hatred, as the one between these two schools, is bound to bring out extreme emotions from both sides. How do you on the one hand not squelch those feelings in order to sat motivated, and yet not let these feelings sabotage your preparation and execution? "It's tough," Christensen replied. "Like today (in practice), you don't need to be all fired up and on all cylinders nine days before the game. You need to make sure you're giving 100% the day of the game. There's a little game that has to be played between making sure we're executing and making sure our energy keeps growing and when the game comes just unleash it. But you have to maintain your head because there's nothing worse than guys playing out of control – inevitably it will cost the team."

Revenge may be a motivating factor for some, but the quarterback can see other reasons that should drive the maroon and gold to works towards a victory next week. "A lot of people look at it different ways and whatever works for whatever person is good," he commented. "We have a bowl game and a winning season on the line, it's our last home game…whoever won the year before will want to win next year. To me it comes down to that it's U of A. It doesn't matter what we're playing for, how many people are in the stands…it's us against them with everything on the line."

In a 1996 game at UCLA, then quarterback Jake Plummer and running back JR. Redmond executed a play where Plummer pass to Redmond, just to receive the ball later for a touchdown. It was somewhat déjà vu last weekend at the Rose Bowl where signal caller Rudy Carpenter was in the wideout role, while Christensen assumed his old role en route to a successful play. "We worked on it in practice and it worked well," Christensen explained. "UCLA saw me playing receiver the week before, so when they saw me in the huddle they weren't thinking too much stuff. They weren't ready for Rudy being split out and me being under center and fortunately for us it worked to perfection and we got a touchdown. It was my first rushing touchdown and it was a great feeling doing it."

The open week before a rivalry game usually lends itself to what's affectionately called ‘gadget week' where the coaching staffs of both schools dig deep into the back of tricks to try and catch the opposition off guard. "You never know what will happen," Christensen mysteriously stated with a grin. "In that open week before the rivalry game everybody goes into a back room and starts drawing up plays here and there – you see that every year. The one thing you know will happen is that each of these teams will come out waiting to tear the other team's head off. It's gonna be a battle and you always throw the records out of the window."

Earning Pac-10 academic honors in the last two years, have allowed Christensen to already earn his Finance degree and graduate in May with a Marketing degree. What does the future hold for Chad Christensen? "I'm looking into the financial analyst sector or possibly work for a professional sports team.," he said. And what about working in ASU's athletic department? "You never know, I may come back as an AD (smile) or make a successful career and help build the indoor (practice) facility (smile)."

Regardless of whatever sum of money he may donate, Christensen has already made his mark with the maroon and gold.

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