Osweiler choked up over Mazzone departure

Dec 23, 2011, 6:59 AM | Updated: Dec 24, 2011, 4:13 am

LAS VEGAS, NEVADA — We all know that Arizona State’s ugly 56-24 loss
to the Boise State Broncos in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas on Thursday
night was Dennis Erickson’s last game as the head coach of the program.

It was also the last game for several members of the Sun Devil staff,
including offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who has joined the
coaching staff of Jim L. Mora at UCLA.

Mazzone had gained support from many in the ASU community who
wanted the veteran offensive coordinator to at least keep his job on new
head coach Todd Graham’s staff, or even be considered for the head
coaching opening.

Players also voiced their support for Mazzone in the weeks leading up to
the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas, including quarterback Brock Osweiler, who
broke ASU’s single-season passing yardage mark on Thursday.

Of course, Osweiler didn’t get his wish, and Mazzone will move on,
meaning the quarterback will be playing for his third different
coordinator during his four-year Arizona State career.

And it was obvious in the postgame press conference that the junior
from Kalispell, Montana was taking the finality of it all pretty hard.

“I wouldn’t be sitting here today if it wasn’t for him,” a teary-eyed
Osweiler said on Thursday. “It hurts for him to leave, but that’s part of
the business.”

After playing sparingly as a true freshman in 2009, Osweiler got a new
lease on life late in 2010 with Mazzone as his mentor. When
quarterback Steven Threet suffered what turned out to be a career-
ending concussion against UCLA last November, a confident Osweiler
stepped in. He led the Sun Devils to back-to-back wins against UCLA
and Arizona, which in part helped plant the seeds of optimism for this

Osweiler threw for 395 yards in the bowl loss, and became the first
quarterback in Arizona State history to top the 4,000-yard mark in a
single season.

“I’ll never forget the first day, going into his office and I walked out and I
was like ‘man, that’s a cool guy, I can’t wait to play for him.’ He’s been
everything to me, and I love him,” Osweiler said.

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Osweiler choked up over Mazzone departure