TEMPE, Ariz. -- It's going to be Threet! No, it's Osweiler as they come around the bend! But now Threet is surging!
Arizona State's quarterback competition was a bit of a back-and-fourth horse race. While reporters covering Oregon's QB competition seemed to have trouble naming a favorite between Nate Costa and Darron Thomas (Thomas eventually won), it seemed like the competition at ASU always had a leader -- only that leader changed multiple times.
After attending Dennis Erickson's press conference -- you can read all his comments here -- and chatting with first-year offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, it seems that over the past week to 10 days things simply clicked for Threet: He was more consistent at making quick decisions and accurate throws than Osweiler.
"You've got to be a high-percentage quarterback in this offense," said Mazzone, who brought in a quick-strike, spread scheme to fix an offense that has struggled over the past two years. "You've got to be able to distribute the ball to a lot of different guys... We can make a living off a lot of 4- or 5-yard plays."
Threet's experience -- eight starts at Michigan before he transferred -- also was a factor. The junior has played on a big stage before, while Osweiler's lone start was a poor performance at Oregon as a true freshman.
Further, it seems that it took a while for Threet and Mazzone to find a rapport. Threet was thinking too much early on -- and often outside of the parameters of where Mazzone wanted his thought process to go.
"Steven is a really intelligent guy," Mazzone said. "If I can bring his intelligence level down to mine, he plays better. I said, 'Steven, if you start thinking like me, we're going to be better.'"
Both Threet and Osweiler are good athletes, which means they can escape pressure and work outside of the pocket. That figures to be important with a questionable offensive line.
But more work remains before Threet is fully annointed as the starter: A pair of games vs. FCS foes -- Portland State on Saturday; Northern Arizona the next weekend -- that can almost serve as preseason games. Osweiler is going to see some action -- though Erickson said he didn't have a plan for how much -- and Threet needs to bring his recent consistency from the practice field into Sun Devil Stadium when the lights are on.
And then to the big test: Game three at Wisconsin.
If Threet struggles and Osweiler thrives when he gets his chance, this QB horse race might have an extra home stretch.
"We’re committed for [Threet] to be the starter and he will get a lot of opportunities to be the starter," Erickson said. "The bottom line is winning football games and whoever will win football games for us will be the quarterback. Steven has earned the opportunity to start and hopefully it doesn’t change. But if we’re not getting productivity, like any position on our football team, we will have to take a look at something else.”