Bigger, Stronger Sween Confident about QB Job

Wyoming quarterback Karsten Sween turned a disappointing finish to the 2007 season into a grueling offseason workout regimen. Now, 15 pounds heavier, and already with one record under his belt, Sween is confident he'll hold onto his starting job in 2008…

It's an unlikely comparison; Tim Tebow and Karsten Sween didn't exactly put up similar numbers in 2007.

But Tebow's Heisman-winning year inspired the Wyoming gunslinger to take his workout regimen to a new level this offseason, one he hopes will lead to a more Tebow-like junior year.

"I was super disappointed with how last year came out," said Sween, who finished the season with 2,028 yards passing but threw just 12 touchdowns to go along with 17 interceptions. "Someone I look up to is Tim Tebow…and I'd just been looking at him and some of his film, and I was like, ‘I need to be that Division I athlete.'"

So Sween went to work in the only place he could—the weight room. And three months later, the junior gunslinger is 15 pounds heavier, and stronger than he's ever been.

"I broke the (quarterback bench press) record over the break," he said. "I think it was (previously held) by Corey (Bramlet). He had 345 (pounds), and I put up 350, so I inched him by five pounds."

Adding strength was something Sween said he felt he needed to do to be more like the elite quarterbacks of college football.

"I think it transfers directly (into being a better passer)," he said. "You look at Tim Tebow or even Brady Quinn, who's like a 450 bencher. He's unbelievably strong. Obviously that correlates to how hard you can throw the ball."

Sween weighed 205 pounds before UW's Christmas break, and he checked into the Cowboys' first spring practice on Wednesday at 220 pounds. He said his bench press has improved by 50 pounds since the end of last season.

"I don't want to get in the ring with him," Wyoming head coach Joe Glenn said of Sween. "He's in the heavyweight division now.

"He looks good, probably still has the same waist size. (He's) strong….He broke the all-time bench record, and the Bramlet brothers were some strong dudes now, too."

If Sween wants to land his name in any passing records outside the weight room, however, he'll have to hang onto his starting job. Glenn brought in junior college standout Dax Crum to compete with Sween this offseason, and redshirt freshman Chris Stutzriem and senior Ian Hetrick will both be vying for starting responsibilities as well.

But that hasn't deterred the big lefty.

"The position's mine. It's open for the other guys to make their chance, but the position's mine," Sween said. "That's how my mindset is, is that it's my team, my number one offense. That's my mindset. I mean, I'm going to go out and compete. I love that they brought in Dax. He's a great player, so it's pushing me. But my mindset is that it's my team."

Sween had arguably the best day of the four quarterbacks during the first session of spring drills on Wednesday, rocketing several passes to receivers and playing generally mistake-free.

"He is competing, and he is focused, and I think refocused," Glenn said. "When you struggle like we did down the stretch last year, that's disheartening…, but you know what, that's in the rearview mirror. I've turned the corner, and I think he (Sween) has too, and he's competing at a very, very high level.

"It's been real good for him."

And after months of lifting, and waiting for another chance, Sween can finally let his arm do the talking.

"God's blessed me with a lot of strength," he said, "so I'm just trying to make it transfer out here."

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