Why Brock Osweiler, Arizona State can beat Oregon

Oct 12, 2011, 10:19 AM | Updated: 10:25 am

Brock Huard thinks Arizona State QB Brock Osweiler has a quick release for someone who is 6-foot-8. (AP photo)

Editor’s note: Brock Huard writes a weekly column for ESPN.com during the college football season. Here is an excerpt from his fourth column, which explains why Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler has the tools to pull off an upset of Oregon at Autzen Stadium on Saturday.

Sports is filled with all sorts of anomalies. Take San Francisco Giants pitcher Tim Lincecum as an example. He’s a power-pitching, two-time Cy Young Award winner who stands 5-foot-10 and weighs 170 pounds soaking wet, yet throws in the mid-90s. In the NBA, Spud Webb and Muggsy Bogues darted their way through basketball redwoods en route to successful careers (and even won a slam dunk contest along the way) yet averaged a meager 5-foot-5.

College football features an anomaly of its own, a Kalispell, Mont., native who is standing extra tall among the cacti of the Arizona desert. Brock Osweiler is much more than a former Gonzaga basketball commit turned Arizona State Sun Devils starting quarterback. He is a 6-8, 240-pound post player running point guard for an up-tempo, fast-break offense.

Osweiler might seem like an unlikely candidate to be directing the no-huddle, zone-read, basketball-on-grass offensive system employed by ASU offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and many other programs around the country. But he and Mazzone have developed together to not only overcome some of the challenges created by Osweiler’s size but also exploit the advantages that come from it, turning him into one of the most unique offensive weapons in all of college football. Here’s how they’ve done it and why Osweiler has a decent chance to do Saturday night what no quarterback has been able to in more than three seasons: beat the Oregon Ducks in Eugene.

The entire column is available to those with an ESPN Insider account, and can be read here.

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