Arizona State QB Battle: What's Next?

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Arizona State QB Battle: What's Next?
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One man has been named the Arizona State University starting quarterback, for the first game at least. Dennis Erickson did not give the title of “king” to either Steven Threet or Brock Osweiler, because as this evaluation process has unfolded, nothing has lead to a clear-cut No. 1 choice.

It’s funny to think about the quarterback situations that occur on a regular basis in football, but when it comes down to it, Arizona definitely hosts the best quarterback drama during the preseason.

Just look at the Arizona Cardinals down the road. Former USC great Matt Leinart, Derek Anderson, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt have definitely grabbed the national media’s attention in recent days with juicy quotes coming form all corners. It must be something in the water, or lackthereof, in Arizona.

However, certainly no over the top drama in ASU’s quarterback battle this go around, and I doubt Erickson minds. I don’t think that Erickson made a bad choice in his decision Monday to name Steven Threet the starter. The comparison and production between the two signal callers were even, as was noted by Erickson. The deciding factor was that Threet was more consistent, although consistency only goes as far as your last pass.

Consistency is a good attribute to have, but it seems like Erickson is going to take a “what have you done for me lately” attitude with this competition. Threet was named the starter, however, Osweiler will play, and it will not be mop up duty you can guarantee that.

Threet received high acclaim in the valley of the sun before he even threw a pass for the maroon and gold. Sun Devil fans were so taken back that a starting quarterback from Michigan would soon guide ASU to the Promised Land, or those were the hopes at least. Well for those fans, they will actually get to see Threet sport the ASU colors under the lights Saturday night.

The question is, will the Sun Devil fans’ expectations be met? Using Portland State as a determining factor, probably is not the wisest idea, but if the new high-flying offense shines under Threet, then expectations will slowly rise. ASU’s new offensive style relies heavily on quarterback play, and if the man calling the shots doesn’t like what he sees, Osweiler might be the spark that Erickson needs on that particular day.

Preseason chatter is just that, chatter, but when the games are finally played, expectations are thrown out the window for 60 minutes. The final score will determine how expectations rise and fall, and for Threet, his performance will have to outshine that of Osweiler’s, if he wants another shot a beating Wisconsin.

The coaching staff took the competition very slowly, and rightfully so. Erickson and Mazzone, knew that they had a quality player in Threet, he garnered high accolades for a reason. The whole time, Erickson knew that the Michigan transfer was his ace in the hole.

I think in the back of his mind, Erickson was hoping Brock Osweiler could steal the job, and his total athleticism and production level at the quarterback position could be maximized. Yet, I still believe Osweiler will have his opportunities to put in his two cents. In all reality, ASU has two preseason games, or “warm-ups” before their showdown in Madison, WI.

Although in the end, neither man ran away with the quarterback job. To be quite honest, Erickson made the safe pick with Threet, and kept Osweiler in the mix to keep motivation and competitive levels high. That might just be the best solution for this ASU team.

In years past, the quarterback position was virtually a guarantee for Rudy Carpenter once Sam Keller was out of the picture in 2006. Three years of solid production under one man turned to a 2009 season filled with no one wanting to take the job. In all reality, the man on the roster that best suited the role as starting quarterback was Threet.

The final result was hope that a longtime backup in senior Danny Sullivan could just “manage the offense” with a solid defense to boot, until Threet or a younger quarterback blossomed and took over in 2010. 

If you missed it, the so-called “managing” didn’t go so well, and here we are at the start of 2010, and Threet is the man who will lead the Sun Devils out of Tillman Tunnel Saturday night.

The maroon and gold will unveil their new offensive schemes with a fresh face at quarterback, a talented defense across the ball, and a new change in attitude that has been noted throughout camp, but under the lights when the score counts, is when you see how much a team has truly changed and improved.  

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