Walter Sees Bowl As Going Back to "Tradition"

Good publicity and a financial boost are some of the more obvious advantages of participating in a bowl game. However, for ASU quarterback Andrew Walter, a Phoenix native and lifelong Sun Devil fan, playing in the Holiday Bowl takes on a much deeper meaning.

"We're starting a tradition this year," says the sophomore "And we're starting to work on the year after that. We are starting to get Arizona State back on the map. This is the first year that we started to turn things around, and accomplished some things we set out to do. This is the first step in bringing the rich Sun Devil tradition back to the valley."

Walter states that going to one of the more prestigious bowl games out there, after being salted to finish near last in the Pac-10, is quite rewarding. "It feels real good. It's a lot of hard work that is finally paying off." And a lot of hard work is what lies ahead for ASU, if you believe the odds makers who have made the Sun Devils the biggest underdog out of all the bowl teams. Nevertheless, the phenom signal caller isn't rattled since this scenario is all too familiar. "This is the role (of underdog) we've been in all year. To be (an underdog) one more time isn't a big deal. That's the line that people gave us, and Kansas State has earned it. We won't give anything to them on game day. We've been in this position all year, so it's nothing new."

From an offensive perspective, ASU's all-time leader in single season passing yards knows that continuing the effective ground attack from the Arizona game, is a necessity for his team to win their post season match. "It was nice to get the ground game finally going. If we don't have to throw the ball 50 times against Kansas State, that will be to our advantage. It will be real nice to get that (running game) working, and obviously we'll try to go out and do that." Walter knows that hitting his favorite target, receiver Shaun McDonald, will require extensive preparation for the standout cornerback from Kansas State - Terence Newman. "He's a great player that will be playing on Sundays. We have a great player too in Shaun McDonald. It will be fun to see how this plays out. We'll definitely game plan for him, and watch tape and see what kind of things they (Kansas State's Defense) do. They rely on him a lot, so we definitely have to keep an eye on him." Overall, Walter says that eliminating turnovers will go a long way in aiding the ASU offense. "We need to execute. Taking care of the Football is huge for us. We have the most takeaways in the Pac-10, but I think we also gave up the most. We have to eliminate those, and that will give us a better chance to compete."

While teammates Terrell Suggs and Shaun McDonald have been receiving numerous post-season honors, Walter has been virtually ignored. In the grand scheme of things, the lack of recognition doesn't faze him one iota. "I guess I didn't play well enough (smile), so that's how things go. If that's the reason why I played, I guess the season would be a loss. But I don't play for accolades, I play to have success and win ball games."

All ASU students are in the midst of taking their final exams. Before Friday's practice, the team had six days off. Did the quarterback and his teammates enjoy their hiatus? "It's been real nice. We finally got to rest some of the aches and pains. A lot of guys have been hurt. This can really help our depth for a bowl game, and that will be big against Kansas State." Walter admits that's it's somewhat of a challenge to be practicing during finals week, but it sure beats the alternative. "I finished two finals and I'm not taking Nuclear Physics (smile), so I guess it's not as bad. But it's a little harder taking finals and practicing. But practicing for a bowl game this time of year, is a lot better than just preparing for finals."

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