Winning key to quarterback decision‏

Competition drives the game of football: offense versus defense, speed versus power, mind versus body, strength versus weakness. Every little battle is important because one slip up can be the difference between winning and losing.

While many feel that this fall's quarterback competition has somewhat of the same feel as last season as it dragged on closer and closer to the opener, the decision to start junior Steven Threet over sophomore Brock Osweiler and junior Samson Szakacsy was based on one thing: winning.

Coming off a 4-8 season that is the only thing that matters. Not worrying about who's feelings will be hurt, or who might transfer if they don't get the job. It's about competing game in and game out and turning a program around that has struggled for two consecutive seasons.

Coach Dennis Erickson made his decision public on Monday afternoon to start Threet citing his experience and improvement as reasons the decision was made, and while many worried about how Brock might feel, I assure you that while getting the job was always the goal, his main goal, as is for the entire team, is to get this back on track.

"Basically you have to go with what's best for the team," Osweiler pointed out, "and coach feels that's Steven right now, so I'm going to come out each day and just continue to get better, I've got a lot of years left here and we're going to have a good season.

"Coach has a plan for me and he's always going to do what's best for my interests, I've just got to sit back and do what this football team needs me to do, and in the mean time, prepare for Portland State."

Osweiler was all smiles today, even when pressured with questions about whether or not transferring is an option, the young quarterback showed character that is sure to benefit him in the future.

"I'm going no where," Osweiler said with a laugh, "it's sunny here year round, I love it.

"Last year, shoot, we won four games, so obviously it has to be about the football team. Whatever quarterback is going to produce wins, that's who needs to be on the football field, and being the back-up quarterback, at any point in time your number can be called, so I've just got to stay in tune, stay locked in, and prepare for when my name is called."

That mind-set of putting the team first seemed to be a contagious one for both quarterbacks involved, and sifting through the robotic responses as these guys have answered questions like this their whole careers, there is definitely a genuine feel to those sentiments.

"I was definitely excited," junior quarterback Threet said of the announcement. "It was something I've been working hard for, but that's just an announcement. You've got to go out onto the field and win football games now.

"Whichever one of us is out there, the ultimate goal is for the team to win games and however it happens, that's what we want."

While Threet has won the competition for the foreseeable future, he also knows what it feels like on the other side.

"I've been in his shoes before so I know it's difficult," Threet sympathized, "but like I said, all three of us, me Brock and Sam, we just want the team to win, so whatever it takes to make that happen.

"We've talked about it. We've been in this ‘battle' since spring or since the U of A game last year; however you want to look at it. It's something we understand, we're competing against each other, but like I said and like Brock said, we're just trying to win games.

"He's a very high character guy. He's a great player, and I know that if anything happens to me he's one play away from being on the field, so he's preparing for the game like anybody else would."

Threet's experience and play as of late was the tipping point in this whole thing, and while his recent play has been solid, ASU hasn't had a signal caller with previous starting experience since Rudy Carpenter ran the team three years ago.

"I think it helps (having experience)," Threet acknowledged. "It's something that I've been through before so that was definitely helpful. As far as game experience, I've played in front of a bunch of people and the loud crowds and all that. The shock value is kind of taken off; it doesn't really have an effect anymore, so that's definitely a positive."

While Osweiler has been his main competitor on the field, the biggest battle Threet has had was probably inside his own head.

"I think it was definitely an issue in the spring," Threet mentioned. "I was over thinking a lot and really trying to beat the defense even before the ball was snapped. I was really just trying to do too much instead of letting the plays come to me and just working through the progressions and making the reads and going with what I see and trusting my eyes so I think that made a huge difference.

"I'm excited to try and help the team win, so it means a lot that I have the opportunity to do that. Whatever I can do to help us win is what I want to do."


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