Former Arizona Player Excels with Archrival

As if the ASU-Arizona rivalry didn't have enough talking points, enter David Bertrand. The Scottsdale Horizon HS product stayed in-state and played with the Wildcats for two years. Ultimately, he felt the need to come back home and join the Sun Devils. The defensive tackle is arguably the biggest surprise in spring, and no one is licking their chops more than him for the Duel in the Desert.

Granted, a big reason for David Bertrand running with the first team is the injury to senior David Smith. Nonetheless, ever since he was given the opportunity the former Arizona player has been impressive with his play.

"Everything is going great," said Bertrand following a scrimmage where he had a sack, a tackle for loss and a quarterback hurry. "I'm feeling really good, I'm healthy and I'm feeling that I'm getting the plays down. It was difficult at first learning everything the plays, but now I have them all down. I'm just working on some technique issues. I hope to have those down by next weekend."

When asked why he chose the Wildcats as his first college stop, he replied: "I went there out of high school because they were those who were really showing interest in me. I walked-on there, played for two years and after that just decided to come down here."

Needless to say that Bertrand has first hand knowledge of the rivalry from what the Sun Devil nation would probably reference as ‘the dark side.' The defensive tackle certainly had to make the adjustment in his mind to rid himself from all the anti-ASU rhetoric he's been exposed to, now that he was going to don the maroon and gold.

"It was huge transition at first, but the players here are great," he stated. "They didn't give me a hard time or anything like that. I think they saw I wasn't here to mess around, I was here to play."

Bertrand actually joined Arizona State in the 2007 season. He sat out the year (in essence counting as a redshirt year), thus he's eligible to suit up and play this season. He claimed that his experiences during that period have helped him effectively prepare for this season and showcase his skills during spring practice.

"Last season being on the scout team I got to know the offensive linemen really well," he recalled, "and the way I played against them I thought I had a good chance to get some playing time in spring ball. So I came into the spring with confidence and everything is going great."

Bertrand noted that he feels his unit has been playing well in the spring, improving each week and setting the goals it set forth for themselves. All the positive vibe concerning the front four, should receive a considerable boost in the fall, when some of the more heralded newcomers of the recruiting class will be joining the team.

It's a given that the competition for playing time on the defensive line come August, may be the fiercest out of all the positions. As a walk-on, some will say that Bertrand may be at a disadvantage. Yet, there isn't even the slightest hint of apprehension in his words when he talks about this topic.

"Having all these players come in this year is just gonna make everyone a better player," he said, "and things are gonna get very physical and aggressive in fall camp. So we all better be ready for the fall."

Bertrand's worry-free attitude should probably come as no surprise. For the first time in his college career he's confident and fully comfortable in his surroundings. While he always received support from his family during his stint in Tucson, let's just say that the level of encouragement has kicked up a few notches since calling Tempe home…

"I have a lot of family up here and they're happy I'm back home," he explained. "A lot of them are alumni, and my cousin Marcus Williams played kicker here for ASU…I didn't have anybody giving me crap for leaving U of A to come here. I'm just so excited to be here and I just love it here."

And just the mention of the ASU-Arizona game in Tucson in seven months, solicits a wide grin from the defensive lineman. "I can't wait for that day when we go down there. It's gonna be a good show."

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