Quarterback Battle Begins on Day One

It's the question being asked the most surrounding the Arizona State football team and rightfully so. Who is going to be under center on opening night in August? As spring football rolls around, fans may have to wait until August to get that answer.

"It's hard to tell," said ASU Head Coach Dennis Erickson. "Obviously, Danny Sullivan gets the first opportunity and Samson (Szakacsy) gets the second opportunity and we'll work from there."

Sun Devils' fans have seen Sullivan before and know the type of quarterback that he is. The senior has seen action in each of the last three seasons as Rudy Carpenter's backup. Sullivan was excited about the progress he felt he made in the offseason and is considered the front runner to take the field as the starter on September 5th against Idaho St.

"It was awesome," said Sullivan of his offseason, "I loved working hard and being with the guys. If I'm the starter these are the guys I'm going to go with."

Sullivan said that he felt the first day of spring practice went well, despite all of ASU's quarterbacks throwing multiple interceptions.

"I feel good. I just have to keep working hard and set the pace for the other guys," said Sullivan, "We put a lot in today and we were doing alright with it. It is about getting the ball out and getting it in the playmaker's hands and letting them make plays."

Part of the new plays put in by Erickson for this season will somehow involve the spread offense. That type of offense may be better suited for sophomore Samson Szakacsy, who is more athletic than Sullivan, but lacks arm strength.

"I feel bring I can bring that aspect to the offense," said Szakacsy of his athletic ability, "I moved around in high school, I feel confident making the plays on the ground too. We will see how it works out, but I'm excited."

Szakacsy has been set back in his previous two seasons at Arizona State by an elbow injury that caused him to struggle to participate in spring practice a year ago. Now that he is healthy, Szakacsy hopes to return to the form that caused him to be one of the top quarterback recruits out of California in 2007.

"A lot better than last spring," smiled Szakacsy when asked about his elbow, "Everything is getting better each day, it is close to 100%, it will be there soon. It is no longer a worry for me."

After not appearing in a game during his first two seasons, Szakacsy is just happy to be able to compete for the job.

"In the mix, it feels good. I just want to come out each day and get better. Competition makes everybody better and that is going to be the case with me and Danny."

While Sullivan and Szakacsy are the front runners, freshman Brock Osweiler may be a dark horse candidate. Chasen Stangel and Jack Elway also will be in the mix, but are unlikely to win the job.

"I thought Brock flung it around pretty good," said Erickson, "They all had their moments but it's going to take a while to decide what's going on."

Osweiler didn't get to show his mobility on the first day, but showed off his superior arm strength that even had Szakacsy impressed, who calls the freshman Brock and Roll.

"Brock is awesome, just physically you can see it. Chasen has a lot of talent and so does Jack. We all are good friends and are excited about getting better."

No matter who ends up winning the job, expectations will be high to turn around an offense that struggled and kept Arizona State out of a bowl game after having high expectations.

"Nobody likes going 5-7, but we have a whole new attitude out here," said Sullivan, "People are going to start to realize that once we start popping the pads."


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