Osweiler getting first taste of rivalry game

Osweiler getting first taste of rivalry game

Last season quarterback Brock Osweiler viewed the Duel in the Desert from the sidelines. This year the sophomore signal caller will be front and center as a starter and said that he is ready for anything that this highly charged contest, played in Tucson this year, has to offer.

"I'm very excited for this opportunity," Osweiler said. "Coach Mazzone and coach Erickson have put together a great game plan and I'm looking forward to that football game.

"I've learned how much this rivalry means to both schools from last season's game and just being in Tempe the last two years."

The sophomore from Kalispell, MT said that growing up he did follow the local Montana – Montana State rivalry.

"The brawl of the wild," Osweiler said laughing. "Obviously it's a lot different but at the same time it means a lot to the people back home in Montana. I understand what big time rivalry games are like and I'm thankful to be part of one now.

"I was always a Montana fan growing up but coach E is from Montana State so don't let him hear that one."

***

Osweiler's first start last season was at Oregon's Autzen stadium which is considered by many in the Pac-10 the loudest venue to play at. The quarterback believes that this experience will help him as he makes his appearance at Arizona stadium on Thursday night facing a crowd not much less boisterous than what he saw and heard against the Ducks.

"Being able to have a little bit of game experience in a loud stadium where you have to use the silent snap count will definitely have me more prepared for this Thursday," Osweiler commented. "I'm expecting a very crazy atmosphere, but at the same time that is why you sign up to play college football. You want to play in environments like that and in big games like this one.

"I'm looking forward to it and this has been a dream my whole life to play in an atmosphere like we are Thursday night and in a game like this."

***

Osweiler first extensive action of season took place last Friday against UCLA and it was a jaw dropping display to say the least. The sophomore was 27 of 36, throwing for 380 yards and four touchdowns and rushing for one more. For as little game time as he has seen in 2010, Osweiler claimed that he was not surprised at all with his play.

"It's true what they say – hard work will pay off eventually," Osweiler noted. "As an athlete you expect the best out of yourself and that's what I went out and tried to do. I envisioned that (type of performance) since I've been here and now for it to finally happen – it was a great feeling and I have to continue and build on that performance. I don't know if it was age but I just felt comfortable out there and things seems to slow down a lot for me.

"I just tried to work all season treating practice like a game day atmosphere. You just have to keep your nose down and keep on grinding. There are some situations that you cannot control, for myself it was Steven (Threet) being named the starter this year. My role was to be the backup and continue to get better. That's what I came into practice each day trying to do. I had a pretty good game on Friday but that one is in the past and we have to move forward and keep getting better.

***

The Arizona Wildcats have been sliding as of late, losing their last three contests. Nonetheless, Osweiler acknowledged the great challenge ASU's archrival will present this week.

"I feel that they might have the best, if not the best, defensive fronts we played all season," Osweiler confessed. "They have a very athletic secondary and their linebackers are great athletes."

Finishing at a .500 record and avoiding a third consecutive losing season isn't the only incentive the Sun Devil have in beating their archrival. ASU's aspirations for bowl game could very much come true with a victory in Tucson. ASU's new starting QB feels his squad is more than up to for this task.

"I'm getting a good vibe right now," Osweiler said. "Guys came in today on a Sunday, full practice and full meetings and everybody was excited and worked hard. I have a great feeling right now for Thursday night but we have to continue and get better as the week goes on."

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