Schlink Makes Up for Lost Time

Most people would be surprised to hear that a player that missed his senior season in high school isn't redshirting to make up for lost time. But Dennis Erickson realized that he needed offensive lineman Zach Schlink and just knew that he would take a little more time to get up to speed. With his possible insertion into the starting lineup this weekend, it appears Schlink is finally ready.

"When I came back, everything compared to high school was so much faster. I wasn't able to compete for such a long time," said Schlink, "Everything started coming at me left and right and it all took a toll. Eventually I got used to it and right now I am used to the speed and have all the plays down."

Schlink didn't know what to expect coming into his freshman season. He wasn't sure if he was going to redshirt or see the field.

"It all depended upon my knee and how I recovered from that," explained Schlink, "When I came here I started working out in the summer time and getting some extra weight off. It just worked out for me."

Once Schlink knew he wasn't redshirting, when he played on the field goal unit, for the first time in the Georgia game, he was just hopeful that he didn't waste the entire season and not play on the offensive line. Now it looks like he will get his shot at left guard.

Erickson knew that Schlink had a long learning curve ahead of him, but it was his love for the game that made the lineman a quick learner.

"He has a lot of talent and a great future," said Erickson. "It's a hell of a learning process for him." "The thing that I like about him is that he loves the game of football. We got to get guys in this program that love the game, have a passion for the game and he has a passion for the game. So he'll give us everything he's got."

The local Peoria Centennial High School graduate commented that the knee injury he suffered his senior year was devastating. He was disappointed that he had to miss his last year at Centennial, but was happy his team could win the state championship despite his injury.

Along with his disappointment, Schlink said that he was worried at first that he would lose his scholarship after getting hurt, but got full support from Dennis Erickson and his staff.

"As soon as I got hurt, I called coach," said Schlink who committed just a few weeks earlier to the Sun Devils. "He said don't worry about it, go see our doctor they will take care of you and we can't wait to have you."

"As soon as it happened I said, ‘thank God I signed and committed early.'

Schlink is poised to get his first opportunity to start this weekend up at Washington, in a position he has never played before. Schlink has joined seven other true freshmen who won't redshirt, and thinks that despite the team's struggles, this movement is a positive.

"I don't even know how many freshmen we have (playing)," said Schlink. "We are getting our experience this year, but this will all pay off in the long run."

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