With junior Steven Threet watching Monday's practice in sweats from the sidelines in a short turnaround week between UCLA and Thursday's game against Arizona, the decision of which quarterback to play was really no quandary at all for Arizona State coach Dennis Erickson.
Sophomore Brock Osweiler was the only choice that could be made given the reality of Threet missing practice time after sustaining his second concussion of the season in the first quarter of Friday's win over the Bruins.
Threet may be cleared later in the week and if so will probably will the backup if Osweiler gets knocked out of the game, but it's not as though it will ever be known what Erickson would have done with any degree of certainty if both were able to practice.
That being the case, Erickson said he was obviously very encouraged by Osweiler's 380-passing-yard, four-touchdown performance coming off the bench, particularly in light of the lack of playing time he's had throughout the season.
"I thought he did some awfully good things," Erickson said. "He made some mistakes that you make normally in a game where you play for the first time. But he also made some awfully good throws. He's an athlete that seemed to make plays the other day. Again, it's different now when you're preparing, now you're the starter, it's a different game. So like I said earlier I'm excited to see him be the starter and see how he does against these guys."
Erickson admitted following the game Friday he was surprised by Osweiler's performance, but the 6-foot-8 Kalispell, Mont., native said he was not.
"I'm not surprised at all," Osweiler said Sunday. "As an athlete you expect the best out of yourself and that's what I went out and tried to do. I had a pretty good game Friday but that's in the past and now we've got to move forward and keep getting better."
When asked what he attributed his impressive performance to, Osweiler said he wasn't entirely sure, but was nonetheless pleased.
"I don't know if it's age or being here and playing a little bit more but I was comfortable," he said. "Things seemed to slow down a lot more. I've been working all year at trying to make practice like a game-like atmosphere and it worked on Friday."
Defensive starters Lawrence Guy and Brandon Magee said the entire team was buoyed by Osweiler and the offense's performance Friday, and the signal caller said he felt that energy in their first trip to the practice field since soundly defeating the Bruins.
"I got a good vibe right now," he said. "The guys came in today on a Sunday, full practice, full meetings and everybody was excited to work and worked had. I have a great feeling right now for Thursday night but we've got to keep getting better as the week goes on and getting ready for the Wildcats."
Other than Threet -- who must pass a concussion test before he can return to practice -- the Sun Devils appear to be in good health according to Erickson. Sophomore guard Andrew Sampson was knocked out of the UCLA game but returned to practice Sunday.