Threet emerging as spring nears conclusion

As the Sun Devils being their fourth and final week of spring practice the quarterback battle rages on. Junior Steven Threet is competing with sophomore Brock Osweiler for the starting job and has shown in last Saturday's scrimmage that he has significantly progressed from just a couple of weeks ago.

"Personally I think it was another practice," Threet claimed. "I made some mistakes obviously but I made some good decisions also. So I just have to watch film, learn from mistakes and use it as another day to get better."

Transferring from the University of Michigan last fall, Threet spent his time on the scout team preparing the defensive unit for game day during his year of ineligibility. After spending nearly 18 months off the competitive field, the quarterback struggled to find his rhythm during the first two weeks of practice. When asked as to the reason for his slow start Threet was hard pressed to come up with a reason.

"I'm not sure," Threet admitted. "I think a lot of it had to do with some time off that I hadn't played in awhile. I didn't even play last spring and last fall I was with the scout team so I think that had something to do with it. I also think I was trying to do too much, which I think is kind of related to being off for so long.

"There were some bad habits I might have developed on the scout team but I think it kept me in the game a little bit, reading the defenses and whatnot. But as far as playing wise, it's kind of a different speed than running the actual 1's and 2's in the scrimmages."

Much of the emphasis this spring is on the quarterback battle, especially after last year's signal caller shuffle that continued throughout the season. With much discussion about which Sun Devil will be awarded the starting job and with the lack of a consistent standout at this position, the pressure to produce positive results on the field is continuous.

"I am really critical of myself," Threet admitted. "Competition wise it doesn't really affect me. It really doesn't. All the things they say are out of my control and I just come out and do what I can to try and make the offense work."

With the new offensive scheme, implemented by offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, the unit as a whole has shown considerable improvement all through spring.

"I think everybody has gotten better over the course of spring ball so I don't necessarily think it's all tied to me," Threet said. "I think it helps that it's a very quarterback driven system so it helps that I'm actually making the right decisions and making good throws. It's definitely going to get the offense kicking a little bit more."

The unit is employing a fast-paced; no huddle offense that requires a reliable signal caller. It's a system which Threet believes allows him to thrive.

"First off I think its intelligence," Threet said of the necessary skills for a quarterback to be successful in this offense. "There are a lot of decisions a quarterback has to make. You have to be coachable because we're getting coached by some pretty good coaches and throwing the ball well. It really is just distributing the ball to playmakers."

Keeping the passing game in rhythm is sometimes easier said than done against a stout defensive unit, such as ASU's who finished atop the conference last season. Going up against a lighting quick and physical unit encourages a quicker release from the signal callers who face it every practice.

"I think mechanically, I've gotten better," Threet commented. "I've been able to translate drills into the scrimmages so that's helped me a lot. Quicker decision making is a big thing, a lot of times I know the right receiver but I have to be able to actually pull the trigger and get him the ball."

"He has played a lot better the last couple of weeks," said Arizona State Head Coach Dennis Erickson of Threet. "He played well in the scrimmage on Saturday. He's throwing the ball more accurately. Starting to get more comfortable because he hasn't played in a while. It's good to see that.

"That (quarterback) battle is a battle. I wouldn't even have a clue to tell you who's starting. I don't imagine it will even come until the fall, sometime in the fall. We'll just have to wait and see."

With the possibility that spring practice will end without a starting quarterback named, Threet doesn't anticipate that it will change his mindset for the offseason while he and the team prepare for fall camp.

"I'll still use everyday to do whatever I can to get better," Threet stated, "and that decision is in the coaches' hands. I just have to do whatever I can personally to make myself the best that I can."

As the final week of spring practice winds down, culminating with Saturday's spring game, the Sun Devils continue everyday to prepare for the upcoming 2010 season. Threet knows this isn't a time to pause and take inventory, but rather focus on progressing every practice and laying the groundwork for a successful campaign.

"I've said all along that as long as I can say I've gotten better each spring practice, I'll be happy with spring ball," Threet said. "Regardless of the ‘quarterback competition' or what decision is made, I just come out and try to get better every day."

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