August 20, 2008

Sullivan 'more confident' than ever

Coming into camp this year was fan speculation Danny Sullivan might have some strong competition for the No. 2 quarterback spot behind starter Rudy Carpenter. It became clear early on, however, that Sullivan is most prepared to step in if something happens to Carpenter.

The 6-foot-5, 238 pound junior has had a strong camp, following up on a spring in which he really came into his own, showing more poise and solid decision-making than at any time in his Sun Devil career.

"Things are finally really there," Sullivan said. "I feel free. I'm just trying to make sure I go out there and just play and don't think too much; just see what's going on and react. It's working so far."

Sullivan said it was his effort in film study that has slowed the game down and made his job easier.

"I think understanding coverages has been my flaw since I've been here," he said. "In high school you don't really get rotation and all that stuff. Trying to understand that has helped me see things better. I've gained more confidence for sure."

Sullivan gained confidence heading into the off-season with a 7-of-14 performance for 118 yards and a touchdown in the fourth quarter of a blowout loss to Texas in the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl. It's carried him through this year and head coach Dennis Erickson is pleased with how the key backup has performed this month.

"Danny has had a great camp," said Erickson. "He could [start] for a lot of football teams. We're fortunate we have him. If something ever happened to Rudy he could come in and win games for us, no question about it. Obviously his future…who knows when it's gonna be. For sure it will be a year from now. But he has picked things up. Seeing him grow in the last year and a half since I've taken this job, it's been a fun thing to watch."

"I'm gaining confidence every day," Sullivan said. "It's going to be huge for me and it'll help me for next year to. I'll just take it in stride and whatever happens, happens and I'll be ready to go."

One of Sullivan's goals in the off-season was to continue to make physical improvements. He's appeared more athletic this year, and he said that was by design.

"I wanted to stay leaner," Sullivan said. "People were saying maybe I got too big. I'm right about the same weight but I feel leaner and I'm able to move around better in the pocket I feel."

The Sun Devils have had several top receivers out of action this month as they attempt to fully heal and Sullivan has spent a lot of time throwing to inexperienced reserves, but he said that is going to pay dividends down the road.

"To know we've got depth at the position we really need depth is a big asset to our team," Sullivan said. "We've got some younger guys and freshmen who are really picking it up for us. We feel like if some of our top guys go down, others will be able to pick it up for them."

A solid team-wide effort in the off-season strength and conditioning program put the Sun Devils in a position to have a better camp, Sullivan said. Younger players were able to develop and get more reps than they otherwise would have.

"I feel like we've been really solid in every practice," Sullivan said. "Of course, early practice, sleeping in the dorms and coming out at 8 a.m. with two-a-days, it's going to be tough. We've just tried to fight through that and come together as a team and have good workouts."

...More... To continue reading this article you must be a member. Sign Up Now!