Szakacsy hungry for more opportunities

Even though he didn't throw the winning touchdown, quarterback Samson Szakacsy was excited to make his debut Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium when Arizona State took on the Washington Huskies. The signal caller was ranked second on the depth chart going into fall camp and after recovering from an elbow injury was finally able to take the field for his ever first snap.

In his first ever time playing at the collegiate level, Samson Szakacsy ran an option play and pitched the ball to tailback Dimitri Nance. He drew a late hit penalty on a Washington defender which negated the loss Nance took carrying the ball.

"It felt good until I got hit in the face," Szakacsy joked. "It was good to be in there and get my feet wet a little bit, that was my first play ever. It was good, I'm just trying to get in there and do more now."

Although the play didn't go as planned, Szakacsy was content with being given the chance to take the field and trusts that Coach Erickson will use him when he sees fit.

"I trust Coach that he is going to use me when he needs me," Szakacsy stated. "And hopefully that opportunity presents itself more in the future so hopefully I can get in there. We'll see, they have different stuff every week, sometimes its zone read, or sometimes it's the option, so we'll see whatever happens."

The redshirt sophomore, who was originally committed to USC, joined Coach Erickson and the Sun Devils in 2007 and has since been battling a reoccurring elbow injury for almost two years. Attempting to stay positive throughout the healing process can sometimes be difficult but Szakacsy seeks other ways to improve his skills that doesn't involve throwing the football.

"It's hard," the young quarterback admitted. "A lot of times you find yourself just down in the slumps and you know what you can do and you're just limited by some injury and you feel like you're trapped inside of a box. For me what works is just trying to find the positives and get better in areas that doesn't involve my arm like hit the film room or work on my speed and try to keep my mind off of it and try to get my arm back to where it's good again."

Throughout spring and fall practice, Szakacsy was a likely contender for the starting job until his elbow required him to again let his arm recuperate. As a result, he fell down to third string in the depth chart. Had the injury not occurred, many thought Szakacsy could have been given the reigns of this offense.

"I think more than anything Danny deserves to be where he is right now," Szakacsy commented. "I think I was pretty healthy in the spring, as far as spring ball goes, I was pretty much 100% and in the summer at the start of camp. I feel like Danny deserves to be the starter.

"If I was 100%, yes I do feel like I could compete with Danny because as a competitor that's what you always do. That being said, I still feel like Danny should be the starter."

Supporting his teammate who has taken some harsh criticism about his abilities at quarterback, Szakacsy also has his own pundits to prove wrong, yet admits that no one scrutinizes himself harsher than he does. The length of his injury has led some to question his passing abilities, deeming that the quarterback is one-dimensional.

"I'm the harshest critic on myself, ever," Szakacsy noted. "No one could ever say anything that would even bother me as much as what I say to myself in my own head. I think what a lot of people don't understand is that I have been hurt since I've been here and my arm has not been healthy.

"I was a good passer in high school, I feel like that's a part of the game that is fine for me but I've just been hurt so unfortunately people don't see that and that's what they're going to assume and say. But it's okay because I'm just trying to get better every day so it's cool."

Progressively the talented sophomore is nursing his arm back to full strength and notice an improvement each day.

"It's a slow process," Szakacsy commented about his injury. "Right now I'm just trying to take it one day at a time. I'm throwing a little bit more every day in practice which is good, so I don't know, as soon as possible."


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