As the Oregon game is rapidly approaching this Saturday, it has become clearer that Senior quarterback Danny Sullivan will not start, or even play at all in this weekend's game for ASU. But the question swirling around the sun-drenched Tempe campus is: Who will start at quarterback for Arizona State?
Sure, on paper a Senior quarterback starting at the infamous Autzen Stadium is a plus, but as you look deeper, no quarterback on the ASU active roster has started a game at Autzen. So, no matter who Erickson selects as his guy for this weekend's tilt, inexperience will be a major characteristic analyzed from the opening snap.
Sullivan has been present at the practice sessions this week, however, he has yet to throw a pass in a team drill. Erickson has limited Sullivan to individual drills and run oriented periods only during practice. The injury that Sullivan suffered to his right bicep, has somewhat remained unnoticed due to the swirl and anticipation of the young Brock Osweiler.
To be quite honest, the quarterback competition has now grown from a two man race, to a three man race, if Sullivan miraculously recovers in time for kickoff. Osweiler has been pushed pretty heavily during practice this week by the agile Sophomore Samson Szakacsy.
Szakacsy has been utilized recently by Erickson in goaline and short yardage situations, due to his tremendous athletic ability—very similar to Oregon's signal caller, Jeremiah Masoli. Sure Brock Osweiler might be the fans choice to start, but Erickson is going to appoint the man that give his Sun Devils the best chance to pull off the upset.
And as Erickson stated following Wednesday's practice, "no one is giving us a shot, no one. So, do the unexpected, and shock the world!"
Well, heading into this week of practice, no one outside of maybe Szakacsy, gave the Sophomore a shot at earning some major playing time this week at Oregon.
Now, I am not saying that Osweiler gives the Sun Devils the best chance to win, or that Szakacsy is the answer either, but the underlining factor in this game will be which quarterback can consistently move the Sun Devil offense up and down the field while scoring touchdowns, not field goals?
Clearly this season, the offensive inconsistency has been a huge area of difficulty for Arizona State.
Will it be Osweiler, a Montana native, who is familiar with the weather conditions of the northwest? Can Szakacsy surprise everyone, including himself and earn the starting job at Autzen? Or finally, will Sullivan play through pain and be effective, as his predecessor Rudy Carpenter did countless times in his four year career at ASU?
Only time will tell, and maybe no one will know until the first offensive play for Arizona State Saturday night in Eugene, OR.