Brice Schwab: "Life's going good, it's all football oriented, so I don't really have a lot of time for off-campus activities. The weather is a lot better than what I'm used to. I've just been working out, trying to get as good as I can, trying to get to the best of my ability, and get ready for the season."
DD: After being on campus for the first week, what's the biggest adjustment you had to make?
Brice Schwab: "The time that's involved in football, is completely different from junior college and I thought I had to put in a lot of time there. It's all good. There's always a positive towards it, it's just hard to keep up on your classes and the transition is kind of hard for me. But I'm starting to get the jist of it so it's going well for me."
DD: This time of year it's all about the mat drills, the weight room and conditioning work. Can you talk about how well those activities are going for you?
Brice Schwab: "It's going real good. Right now for me the big thing is trying to get down to my playing weight and trying to just get as conditioned as possible. Mat drills have gone pretty well for me so far. In the beginning the conditioning was a little rough for me because I came in out of shape, but I've picked it up and I've put a lot of time in the weight room. I'm constantly in the weight room trying to get better everyday."
DD: What's your weight right now and what is your goal weight to start the season at?"
Brice Schwab: "Right now I'm at 335 and I'm trying to get down to 315. That's not a big issue. I feel like I'm athletic enough to where I can play at it, but for my sake I feel like I can play better at 315."
DD: In the off-season you can't sit down as often with the coaches in the film room, but it's something that you obviously have to go through on your initiative. How has that aspect of your preparation been so far?
Brice Schwab: "The players are helping me out quite a bit, guys like (Garth) Gerhart and (Jon) Hargis. Hargis is really helping me out as far as getting to know the playbook. It's a good system to come into as far as learning the plays because it's set up a lot like my junior college, so I'm having a lot of fun with it."
DD: Coach Erickson has recently talked about the offensive line being three-deep with scholarship players. So for you to come into a situation like that, can it be just a little bit overwhelming knowing there are so many bodies all around you and therefore a lot of competition for positions?
Brice Schwab: "I have super high standards for myself. It's kind of do-or-die for me almost. I look at myself and the red flag is up for me right now. I only have two more years of eligibility left and I have to come in with a purpose to play and I have a mindset to set myself out from the other guys. I try to at least."
DD: Talk about your recruiting journey. Out of high school a lot of players choose not to make the trip like you did from the East coast to the West coast. Did you not get the offers you wanted to receive at the time and that is what prompted you to play at a junior college across the country in the San Diego area?
Brice Schwab: "I didn't have any offers out of high school really. I had a couple schools really looking at me and that was West Virginia and Penn State. I went to a couple camps there and got a couple call backs to the elite camps, and those went pretty well. But I still went to a pretty small school so I don't think they really considered me too much. I had a couple D-1 AA offers and a couple Division II offers, but I wasn't really satisfied with that.
"I sat down with my parents and had a long talk and a couple junior colleges came about and asked about me for my services. I took a trip out there (to Palomar) and really decided that I wanted to play football and get a scholarship."
DD: I guess going to a school near San Diego, one of the nicer cities in the country, helps matters especially coming from so far away…
Brice Schwab: "Well, I'm a really big family guy so it was kind of an awkward situation for me being in the (junior college) playoffs and not being able to come home for Thanksgiving. That wasn't that bad, but it could've been different. I liked it out there but my intentions were to play football only."
DD: So you go to Palomar and things obviously go so well that USC among a lot of other schools comes calling. Can you walk us through the process concerning your decision to commit to USC? Was it really just about aspects like the appeal that this school has, their track record, and their tradition?
Brice Schwab: "The tradition is phenomenal there and I have so much respect for USC. I liked the school there, and it's one of those things with the players where it's a different type of atmosphere. They have a swagger about themselves where you want to be a part of it. You want to win and the winning tradition there is phenomenal and it was something that I looked for. They had spots open to where someone could step in and beat them out and I wanted to be a part of that and committed there real quick.
"The day they offered is the day I committed, but I also did a lot of homework on them. But as time went on I felt the want wasn't there as much as the need anymore, and I brought it up to them a few times. When I was flying back from Pennsylvania to go enroll and sign my letter of intent with them, Pete Carroll announced he was leaving."
DD: Was the decommitment merely a timing issue? If Pete Carroll had announced he's resigning two days after you signed with USC do you feel you would've just stayed with the commitment and been a Trojan?
Brice Schwab: "That's a good question. It would've been hard. It would've been something I would've thought about because coming in especially being a junior college player you only have a certain amount of time. You can't wait for a coaching change or something like that to get involved in your decision to where the other coach might have someone lined up that he likes better than me. So that's definitely a factor and I probably would've tried to get out of the letter of intent."
DD: So the fact that you chose ASU, does that imply that they stood out in some shape or form earlier in the recruiting process that made you ultimately decide to commit to them?
Brice Schwab: "They came out to watch a practice one day, but I didn't have any interest in them at all as far as playing for them. Then after I decommitted they were probably one of the first three or four schools that made contact with me.
"I talked to my coaches at my junior college and had a lot of sit downs with my parents, and tried to figure out what was the best choice for me. It came down to timing as far as picking the school and I felt this was the best opportunity for me to come in and compete right away and play.
"The coaching staff here is great and they have a lot of new upgrades in coaching. You know a couple coaches came in, and these are the cards I'm dealt so I have to play with them."
DD: I'm assuming your relationship with Bryce Erickson, your recruiting coach at ASU, was one of the biggest reasons you ended up here?
Brice Schwab: "I really bought into how the coaches sat down with me. They acted like they had time for me. They didn't rush anything. Coach Bryce Erickson did quite a bit. He helped me out just as far as saying ‘hey relax, if you want to come here no pressure whatsoever,' and the same thing with coach Dennis Erickson."
DD: So ASU on the one hand was laid back, but you on the other hand, I'm not gonna say felt pressured, but you also didn't wish to go through the recruiting process again after decommitting from USC. So was ASU basically the right place at the right time as far as the recruiting process goes?
Brice Schwab: "It was one of those things where it was all about timing. I only had a couple weeks to get enrolled in school, and I had to get in as soon as possible. There were a couple schools as far as my transcripts goes that could take me early because of classes that I needed to enroll in so I had to get into those classes or stay another semester, and I wanted to get into spring ball.
"Oklahoma, Florida State and a couple others could get me in early, and it came down to where I couldn't take any trips and it was a gut feeling after the USC thing that Arizona State was going to be a good spot for me."
DD: Talk a little bit about the new offensive scheme that is being implemented by Coach Noel Mazzone. We hear a lot of talk on the effect it will have on the quarterbacks, wide receivers, and running backs. But from an offensive line perspective what do you like about this offense?
Brice Schwab: "It's fast tempo and you're gonna wear the defensive line down. It's gonna make the play a lot easier for the offensive linemen because the defense is not going to be able to rotate their guys in and out, and those guys that are used to being rotated are going to be tired.
"I just like the way (Mazzone) is trying to run the offense; he's trying to make it even. He's obviously going to try to pass it a lot in the spread offense, but he's not going to shy away from the run. I'm just excited for it, more of just because it's my first Division I experience and I want to be a part of it. I think he has a good thing coming."
DD: I know offensive linemen always talk about wanting to run block more than pass block and with this offense it's may be the opposite of that. It's interesting that you as an offensive linemen, especially a tackle who is going to do a lot of pass blocking, is so excited about this system…
Brice Schwab: "I think one of my better attributes as far as playing the sport is my pass-pro. I've really worked on it hard in junior college, it's really coming together now and the sky is the limit for me. I think this offense is going to show my athletic ability an awful lot."
DD: You obviously weren't part of last year's team, but as you know by now it was a really a rough season especially on the offense. Having said that, what kind of vibe do you get from the returning players about what happened last year and how they feel coming into this year and turning it around?
Brice Schwab: "I see them striving to get the team better, and as a whole team, they won't settle for less. They have high expectations which are really good, and I think it's going to help out a lot as far as offense going in and the defense coming back. I think there's a good tide coming and it'll be a good thing for the next few years."
DD: You come across as a laid back person. Does that help you because obviously the accolades that you got playing at Palomar have set high expectations for you over here. Does your personality help you deal with all that pressure?
Brice Schwab: "I think the more humble you stay the more it will help you out as far as getting to where you want to be. If you get a big head it gets to you and it's going to transpire on the field and I definitely don't want that. I know all eyes are on me and it's something I'm not used to and I have to get used to it. But I don't want to let the fans down and I don't want to let myself down because I have high expectations for this year."
DD: I heard that when you went to an ASU basketball game when you first got here, you were surprised at the reaction you got from the fans. You weren't even playing yet but the fans here are already starting to recognize you…
Brice Schwab: "It was cool. It was a reality check that all eyes are on me right now, but it's cool. It's a nice feeling to have people look at you like that."
DD: At Palomar you mainly played at right tackle. Were USC and the other schools recruiting you still looking at you solely as a left tackle or did they leave that recruiting aspect open?
Brice Schwab: "A lot of schools left it open for preference or where I fit in the best and a few schools like Oklahoma and Florida State wanted me to play left. I'm getting used to the technique. Everything has flipped and it's awkward for me at the moment, but I'm doing a lot of the technique stuff at home, reading up about it. I have some of the offensive linemen that played left tackle help me work on my stance so it's starting to come together. It's nothing that's going to affect my playing time or ability, I'm going to play whether it's left or right, I'm going to try my hardest to play wherever."
DD: Do you feel it's more prestigious to play at left tackle and does that want you to play that position more than right tackle?
Brice Schwab: "I don't buy into it. Every position is important. If any one lineman gets beat it's still a possible sack. But I feel like you go against the best athletes on the D-line when you play at left tackle so there is kind of an allure there."
DD: You're barely started your Division I college career, but tomorrow is Pro Day, with a lot of NFL scouts evaluating the outgoing seniors. When you'll check out this event, will it be kind of hard not to think ahead in regards to your career and what you need to do to get to that next level?
Brice Schwab: "I see a few kids that do that. For me it just gives you more motivation to work harder. It's exciting because I've never seen anything like that before. But it's becoming a reality that it's a possibility that you could be drafted and it gets me excited to go harder. It's all about mindset. I'm a firm believer in mindset and if you have good mindset going into something then positive things are going to come out, but if you're a negative person it's not going to be good."
DD: This is probably a premature question, but do you think that if you have the season that you and many others expect you to have that you may skip your senior year to enter the draft?
Brice Schwab: "It always crosses your mind, but I don't think I will because I still want to learn. If that's what people are talking about me it's kind of crazy but I think I'll stay. I really like the coaches and I feel they can get me to where I want to be before I leave, and I also want to get my degree."
DD: Do you feel that if you're not the starting left tackle at the end of spring practice you will have a sense of unfulfillment?
Brice Schwab: "To be honest with you, no. Right tackle is my position, and I feel like I can be real dominant at that position just like I feel like I can be dominant at the left tackle position.
"Right now they have a depth chart to where they think they will have people run for spring and I'm at first team left tackle. So it wouldn't be failure by any means because starting D-I is starting D-I. So I feel I'll be comfortable either way, but I'm gonna shoot for the left tackle just because that's where everyone wants me to play, including the coaches. I'm gonna try my hardest, which I have been."
Jon Kingston assisted with this article