When you finish dead last in the league in rushing, there aren't a lot of silver linings. Brad…
Q&A with QB Steven Threet
DevilsDigest: There is no such thing as a true off-season in football, but for those who aren't familiar with the winter workouts of the team can you share the routine you and your teammates are going through these days? Steven Threet: "This time of year presents an opportunity for guys to get individual work, getting some work in with the receivers. Myself, Brock and Sam are getting together and doing quarterback drills. It's all about making yourself a better player in the off-season, so when spring practice and then fall rolls around you're ready to go. " DD: Do you prefer this time of year over spring practice or fall camp? ST: "I think every section of this year presents an opportunity to get better. Right now we're lifting really hard, getting workouts in to get ready for spring. Now is definitely a time where you can focus on what you need to do to get better." DD: On that note how much have you improved in your strength and speed? ST: "I think I'm doing well, working hard in the weight room, in the agility drills that we are doing…it's all about becoming a stronger and faster player and not about weight room numbers. It's only about being a better football player. How your strength and speed transfers onto the field is the most important thing." DD: When you talk about your attributes, what are some skills that you personally have witnessed a significant development in from last year to now? ST: "I really tried to improve my mechanics throwing wise, presence in the pocket…all the small things that make a big difference in a course of the game and things that get you that big play. I'm really working on getting more consistent with my mechanics, my accuracy, and keeping your eyes downfield while you are moving in the pocket." DD: When you transferred here from the University of Michigan you obviously were prepared to sit out the 2009 season. As a competitor you wanted to get on the field when you arrived at Arizona State, but these days are you able to look back and see the benefits of not playing last year? ST: "I can definitely see the benefits. Like you said it was tough at the time. I'm a very competitive person and anytime I can get a chance I want to be on the field playing. But I did use last fall as an off-season. I was working on the scout team, getting our defense ready for games. I was working on getting myself better. Because I didn't have to game plan, I got to spend more time in the weight room. As much as I would have liked to be on the field, I do see the benefits of sitting out and I was able to get some good things out of it" DD: You were known to really hit the weight room and the film room last fall. Looking back was that maybe an outlet for your pent up energy since you couldn't play on Saturdays? ST: "Yes, I think it definitely was. I just got here last summer to Tempe and it wasn't like I was familiar with the area or anything, so I spent a lot of my time in the weight room and the film room. I was watching what offense we were going to run on Saturday and also what the defense was going to do because that helped me with the scout team work. I just wanted mentally to stay in it, if I couldn't be on the field. I didn't want to lose the experience that I have gained playing my first year at Michigan." DD: You talked about your work on the scout team and I would have to imagine that it was a challenge every week trying to move the ball against the league's best defense. How beneficial was that scout team work to your development? ST: "A lot of us guys who sat out or redshirted got to work together on the scout team and that experience made all of us better. We still helped the defense get ready, but at the same time we got to improve our skills. Like you said, it was tough at times to move the ball on the defense. But we were able to get some good plays in and that would get the defensive coaches a little upset at us, but that's all right." DD: It's no secret that the ASU offense really struggled last year. It was naturally hard for every member of the team to witness this, but does it even become harder when you know that you can't suit up and help out? ST: "It was definitely hard. I obviously wanted the team to succeed, because the team winning is always the most important thing. I would have loved to help out, and now this year I will have that opportunity and I need to take full advantage of it." DD: Aaron Pflugrad is a wide receiver that you developed a lot of chemistry with during the scout team work. These days in your informal workouts are you able to have the same level of chemistry with the other wide receivers as well? ST: "I definitely think so. We have a chance to work out a lot together, about a two times a week, not only quarterbacks and receivers but also the rest of the offense and the defense. We have a lot of new energy and all the guys are really excited and cannot wait to get back on the field. Everybody is working hard to get better. Last year wasn't the result we wanted and it left a bad taste in our mouth. We want to go out there and change it." DD: Offensive tackle Brice Schwab is one of the newcomers that came in with a lot of accolades and is already here on campus. What are your impressions of him just through your mutual workouts? ST: "The first thing I noticed about him is how hard he works in the weight room, conditioning, informal workouts…he's doing everything he can to get better. He gets along with everyone on the team and fit in right away with the O-Line. He's a great addition, and we're excited about the other JUCO guys that are already here too. Chris De Armas is doing a great job too on the offensive line. There's just a lot of excitement on offense right now whether it's in the weight room or getting together to watch film." DD: I would have to assume that new Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone is a big reason for that. Granted, your interactions with the coaches are very limited this time of year, but what have your impressions been so far from Coach Mazzone? ST: "He's very upbeat and he just wants to see the offense get better and succeed. I know he's willing to put in the work to help us and his energy that he has brought has really spread throughout the guys." DD: When you look at the offensive scheme he's trying to implement what are some of the aspects that really excite you and what are the aspects you find challenging? ST: "I think we're excited with all the new stuff we are doing. We are very motivated to work hard, move the ball up and down the field and learn a lot of new plays. I think you'll see more quickness in our offense, a lot more plays being run, and lot more time left on the play clock when we are snapping the ball. Those are some of the things you'll notice right away in spring practice." DD: You transferred out of Michigan because they ran the spread option offense that didn't suit your skills. Even though Mazzone runs a multiple wide receiver set, you can obviously see that this isn't the same type of spread offense that your old team is running… ST: "Spread is the term that is used for the formations and how you are lining guys up. At Michigan, the quarterback was running the ball a lot, and here it's more of a pro-style offense and I'm very excited about that. It's an offense that suits me well. One of my strengths is the mental side of the game and this offense requires you to make quick decisions in both the passing and the running game. It does put a lot of emphasis on the quarterback and his ability to throw the ball a lot." DD: There is a lot of talk about the high expectations some have for you to turn around the ASU offense. Does this force you to take everything in stride or is it something that you pay close attention to and are being fueled by those expectations, maybe feeling pressure to really deliver? ST: "I think my expectations are higher than anybody else's on me and that's a good thing. One of my goals is to never get outworked. But I really don't read any newspapers or anything like that, I just do what I do to try and be the best player I can and just go from there." DD: You transferred to Michigan from Georgia Tech and ASU is now your third collegiate stop. Is there a part of you that feels that you have to prove that you are a good quarterback, if not for yourself then to other people? ST: "I wouldn't say that I have to prove anything to other people. That's never my goal. I just want to go out every day to get better and become the best quarterback I can. Hopefully that all translates to team success because that is my number one goal." DD: Now that you have been in Tempe since the summer, how has the transformation been for you on and off the field? ST: "There is nothing that I really have had a hard time getting used to. By now this is my third geographic region (laughs). My brother and his fiancé live out here and it's nice to have some family out here. I really enjoy the school, the city atmosphere, and the weather is a little better than Michigan. It was 75 today and probably in the 30's back home. I'll never complain about that." DD: As someone who grew in Michigan and obviously played there, is it hard for you to see their recent struggles? You probably have some friends on the team still, but do you talk to them a lot about what is going on with the Wolverines? ST: "I'm only concerned with what is going on with Arizona State. I'm not reading websites and what not, but I've heard what's going on there. I try to stay out of the loop and my parents once in a while will call me, or my friends will talk to me and let me know what's going on there. But again, my major concern is with Arizona State and getting ready for a season." DD: Let's talk about a scenario where ASU goes to the Rose Bowl. Would suffice it to say that your first choice of a Big Ten team you would like to play in that game is Michigan? ST: "Any team we play if we get to the Rose Bowl would be great. I'm not gonna get picky." DD: As you go into spring practice are you feeling that you need to end spring practice as the starter and have that momentum carry you to fall practice? ST: "My goal is every practice to leave the field better than I came onto it. A quote that I always try to remind myself is ‘control the things you can control.' The coaches will control which quarterback is taking the snaps, and you have to go out every rep you get and do the best with the opportunity you get and see what happens." Thanks to Eric Menkhus and Joe Healey for assisting with the questions for this interview
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