Szakacsy hopes to build on recent success

Samson Szakacsy throwing his 1st TD pass for ASU

Even sophomore quarterback Samson Szakacsy admits that if you blink during an ASU game you may miss him getting some playing time. Nonetheless, during one snap last Saturday against Cal, the QB achieved his first pass attempt, completion and touchdown pass. An already excited Szakacsy now prepares to face USC who he originally committed to before switching his allegiances to the Sun Devils.

Samson Szakacsy obviously realizes the magnitude of the upcoming match versus USC. Yet, he believes and he and his Arizona State teammates see every contest from here on out as the proverbial big game. "Every week is big," Szakacsy said. "Oregon after that (USC game) is no joke. We're trying to focus on getting better as a team for our sake. For me personally too, I just try to get better every day."

An elbow injury in his freshman year required surgery and sidelined the signal caller for both the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Szakacsy ended last spring practice on the heels of eventual starter Danny Sullivan, but a setback in fall camp not only widen the gap between both players, but saw true freshman Brock Osweiler vault to the backup quarterback and see action in four games thus far.

"It's feeling better," said Szakacsy of his elbow. "It's a slow process and it still gives me a little bit of pain. But overall my arm gets stronger and as the week goes on it starts to get more painful. But this week it's held together pretty well."

Szakacsy made his long awaited maroon and gold debut three weeks back against Washington, and in his lone play of that contest his pitch to tailback Dimitri Nance went for a loss, yet a late hit levied on him from a Huskies' defender allowed ASU to get a first down.

Against the Golden Bears last week, the quarterback was involved in another option play, in which he could of scampered three yards out into the end zone but opted to toss the pigskin to tight end Jovon Williams who ironically had a milestone of his own scoring his first ever touchdown on Szakacsy's inaugural touchdown pass.

"That shows me he (Coach Erickson) believes in me enough to do that in a big situation," Szakacsy remarked of that play. "I was glad I could come through for him. It gave me a lot of confidence that I can go and play still. I haven't thrown a pass in a game for four years (Szakacsy was sidelined for some of his senior season at Camarillo (Calif.) High School with a broken leg).

"Now I have to keep going. No incompletions just all touchdowns (smiles). It's like eating the marshmallows in the Lucky Charms and not the regular cereal."

His play against Cal awarded the quarterback more reps in practice this week, and he looked sharp in Wednesday's session.

"I trust coach and if he needs me to do something I'll be there," Szakacsy commented. "I'm just trying to get healthier every day."

Szakacsy's mobility is one of his biggest assets, and in ASU's zone read offense his attributes fit the Sun Devils' scheme like a glove. Nonetheless, the sophomore doesn't want to be pegged as a quarterback that can only come in for an option play deep in the red zone, and definitely doesn't want to be labeled as a signal caller that won't be called upon to make a longer throw in an attempt to move the chains.

"What we're doing in practice right now… I'm feeling like I'm making some throws," Szakacsy claimed. "The long post corners are still something I got to work on as far as arm strength wise, but as far as the intermediate stuff I feel that in practice right now I'm just trying to show I can make those throws, not only to them (the ASU coaches) but to myself, because I'm just getting to a point where my arm is starting to get healthier again.

"If he calls my number in that situation (throwing the ball), I'll be ready to go. If I keep doing goal-line stuff, that's great too. Whatever I can do to help which is instead of standing on the sidelines."

Szakacsy was able to secure a ticket for his mother, who is already in town for this week's USC game, but naturally he is being asked to land several more tickets for the game against the team he once committed to. Aside from the ticket demands, the quarterback is certainly getting a lot of support from his friends on his recent accomplishments.

"It was a little bit of payoff for all the pain my elbow has endured the past three years," Szakacsy said of those compliments. "I told people to tune in because I might be playing this week."

The quarterback said that his confidence is growing every day now that the condition of his elbow is improving.

"It's still gives pain and that's the next step, getting rid of that," Szakacsy said. "I haven't had any shot or medication so that's good. The last time I had a shot was three, four weeks ago. That took away all my pain. I couldn't feel anything.

"But I'm trying to get healthy without (using) anything."

Not only has Szakacsy's own confidence grown as of late, but the sophomore fully believes that the ASU offense can improve and produce more points than it is right now.

"I feel that we're so close to having a breakout," Szakacsy stated. "It's kind of late to say that now in the season, I know that. But there are so many points left on the field every week. We just have to all come together and be accountable for our jobs.

"We can't start slow, we can't dig ourselves in a 14-point hole and then try and play comeback all game. We have to start out getting on people early and having that swagger in offense that I feel we can have. We have so much talent and we just have to execute better right now."

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