Posted by ESPN.com's Ted Miller
Arizona State's starting quarterback at Oregon will be ...
"I'm not sure what I'm going to do," Sun Devils coach Dennis Erickson said.
Erickson might know exactly what he's going to do: start true freshman Brock Osweiler or stick with senior Danny Sullivan. But he actually sounds like he's still thinking about it.
"I'm waiting to see what transpires in practice and so forth," Erickson said. "[Sullivan] did not play as bad as everybody might have thought [in the 14-9 loss Saturday to USC]."
Sullivan has started every game, but his job has never been secure. He ranks ninth in the Pac-10 in passing efficiency and has thrown eight touchdown passes with nine interceptions. He's thrown four picks and one TD pass in the last two games.
Osweiler, the 6-foot-8 native of Kalispell, Mont., hasn't exactly been ripping it up when he's relieved Sullivan this season. He's completing only 42 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and one interception. But he's the future of the program.
Of course, starting Osweiler would seem to suggest that the program is looking ahead. The Sun Devils, 4-5 overall and 2-4 in the Pac-10, still have a chance to become bowl eligible. But they have win two of their final three games: at No. 13 Oregon, at UCLA and No. 17 Arizona. That won't be easy.
Speaking of not easy, a true freshman making his first career start at raucous Autzen Stadium: That's not easy.
"That's one thing that is going into the process," Erickson said. "Playing there is hard for a senior who's been there a long time, much less a freshman who's starting his first game. That won't be the overriding part of the decision but it has a little bit of an influence on what we're going to do."
Of course, if a quarterback can get by the emotional and practical distraction of the crowd noise, there could be a benefit for an inexperienced youngster. A team visiting Autzen tends to simplify its game plan, which could make things easier for Osweiler. If his teammates can't hear him, it's unlikely he'll be burdened with a bunch of audibles and adjustments to the play calls.
"There are so many things you've got to simplify when you play in that environment," Erickson said. "Then with Brock, we'll simplify it even more if he happens to be the starter ... We might execute a little bit better the simpler we make it."
Erickson benched Sullivan in favor of Osweiler in the second half vs. USC, and the freshman capped an eight-play, 80-yard drive with a 23-yard touchdown pass. But his numbers weren't appreciably better than Sullivan's.
"I made the change because I wanted to get some energy going on offense, which Brock brought to us, and Brock moved the football and scored a touchdown and made some plays and it was exciting for everyone to watch," Erickson said. "However, there were times during that game that his inexperience came out, too, as far as not throwing it the correct place in the fourth quarter a couple of times when we had a chance to go down there."
Erickson said he may make a decision by Thursday. Or he may wait until game time.
Holding back on an announcement, though, is not about a competitive advantage, he said. It appears he's just not sure what he's going to do.
"I'm not trying to trick anybody because it really makes no difference to Oregon who plays," he said.