Stapleton: Why Arizona State?

Clif Reeder/Daily

Threet: The first thing I looked at for any school I was going to go to was the offense they run and the coaching staff. Arizona State, I feel it fits me offensively with the type of offense they run, it’s a pro-style offense. I get along very well with the coaching staff, I feel like they will be able to help me get better every day in practice and throughout the season and help me develop.

S: A lot of people look at the situation you had at Michigan, with a good chance you’d enter the season as the starter. What don’t they know that made it not that favorable for you?

T: If you really look at the situation I was in, it really doesn’t fit me. My friend likes to say it’s like coming to Michigan to go to be a doctor, and then they get rid of the Medical school, you know? So it’s disappointing to me because I love Michigan, I’ve said that before, I grew up a fan of Michigan, but it’s a situation now where I have to try to do what’s best for me. That’s the situation I’m in, and now I love Arizona State, too.

S: How important is the system you’re playing in to the success of a quarterback?

T: I think it’s more important for the quarterback than any other position. I have a specific skill set as a quarterback, and that skill set doesn’t match up with the offense at Michigan. I don’t want to overstate it, because I ran the offense — some would say not very well — but ultimately it comes down to wins and losses. But I think a lot of times people overlook certain things. Michigan fans were used to Chad Henne as a junior and a senior, and not too many people were thinking about how he did in his freshman year, or John Navarre’s freshman year. It comes down to wins and losses, but you have to put it in perspective.

S: How big of a role did all the criticism of last year play in your decision to leave?

T: None at all, to be honest with you. During the season, and even now, I don’t really read the newspapers, and I don’t read the blogs, because even if there are people saying positive things you can’t only listen to them and block out the people saying negative things. I’m my own harshest critic anyway.

S: There was one quote that stood out for me from last season. It was after the Michigan State game when Michigan’s offensive coordinator Calvin McGee described your play as “inconsistent, as always.”

T: I guess I feel like that’s a difference of philosophy from the previous staff. Granted, coaches do different things to get the most out of their players. Some people close to me were upset that a coach would call me out in front of the media, but you know, in the end it didn’t really matter to me. And to be honest, my play in the Michigan State game was inconsistent. Is it right to say that at the press conference after the game? I mean, we had just lost a big rivalry game, so I would chalk most of that up to emotions after a big game like that.

S: What do the coaches at Arizona State provide that Rich Rodriguez and his staff don’t?

T: It’s mostly the difference in the offense. The offense here is pretty much set in stone, while Coach Erickson and Coach Olsen have been in the pros, they run a pro system, and it’s just a difference in offensive philosophy.

S: So it’s strictly a difference in offensive philosophy, not in dealing with players?

T: They could deal with players differently, but like I said, every coach has a different way of trying to get the most out of their players. But I wasn’t switching because the coaches were too hard on me, or anything like that. It wasn’t a situation where I hate getting yelled at or anything. I mean, I’m a football player.

S: You’re the latest in a pretty long line of guys who came to play for Lloyd Carr and left when Rich Rodriguez came. Why do players leave?

T: I don’t know. I think when they came, they knew what they were getting, the system was in place, and so was the coaching staff. I mean, Michigan, before Coach Rodriguez, had had the same basic offensive philosophy and group of coaches for 30-some years. I know (former offensive lineman) Justin (Boren) left because he felt that it wasn’t Michigan anymore, at least not the same Michigan.

S: In this system, had you stayed, do you think you would have been able to keep the starting job the rest of your career?

T: With the way they run the offense, no. But, it’s tough to say. I know a lot of people say, you know, “Oh, he saw the writing on the wall, with the freshman quarterback coming in,” but that’s not it. It’s not that I couldn’t be successful in a system like this, I just think it’s better for me to be in a different system.

S: So you’re giving up a starting job just to be in a system you think fits your skills?

T: It is the single most important thing for a quarterback. It’s why you don’t see a 5-foot-9 kid who’s really fast running the style of offense that we had here a year ago. So people say, “you come to the school for Michigan.” Yeah, but at the same time, can you imagine any of the guys who came before me — Chad (Henne), Tom Brady, Brian Griese, Navarre — can you imagine any of them running this offense? It wouldn’t happen.

S: What do you think when people say you’re transferring because you’re scared of the competition?

T: I just laugh at it. I transferred to Michigan to compete with Ryan Mallett for the starting quarterback job, and now I’m going to transfer away because they brought in two freshmen who are supposed to be good in this system? And it’s not like the cupboard’s bare at Arizona State, either. You’re never going to find any Division I teams telling you that if you come there, you will automatically be the starting quarterback.

S: What does Michigan need to do to make sure last year doesn’t happen again?

T: They need to make sure that everyone is putting the work in to getting better at executing their job. There were a lot of times last year where maybe one guy didn’t do his job at 100 percent, and that’s the difference between a touchdown and a three-yard loss. Working together like that is especially important offensively. Defensively, you can get bailed out sometimes, but offensively it really does take all 11 guys.

Correction: The name Justin Feagin was incorrectly used in the place of the name Justin Boren. It has now been fixed.

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