With the season just weeks away, Arizona and Arizona State quarterbacks Grant Gunnell and Jayden Daniels took to a Pac-12 Webinar, talking about everything from football, team expectations, and the upcoming season.
Fresh off of seasons in which both players showed a lot of talent and potential, expectations are high for both players heading into 2020.
Already it has been a busy off-season for the both of them, however, as they enter the season with a bit of hype, that hype of course came with a little drama.
As you may recall, the Pac-12 had already canceled their season, before re-voting to restart the 2020 season, which is set for November 7.
While this quarantine has been tough for both quarterbacks, for Arizona quarterback Grant Gunnell, the extra time has been seen as a “blessing in disguise,” he said. “It’s something I would have never got if there was never the pandemic that happened… getting that time with him [offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone] to focus on the mental aspect of the game, rather than on the field.”
In a season in which the Wildcats will be relying heavily on the play of their sophomore quarterback, Gunnell appears to be ready. “I kind of feed off of that pressure,” he said. “That’s kind of what drives me… what makes me work so hard is so that that pressure doesn’t get me… that pressure is what makes me love football.”
If Arizona is going to exceed expectations, they are going to have fuel that love of football and play as underdogs for the whole year. “We’re going to take each day 1-0,” he said.
Just 100 miles North, ASU quarterback Jayden Daniels will have a different set of obstacles.
Following a season in which the then-freshman quarterback dazzled everyone with his cool, calm collectiveness en route to an 8-5 team finish, Daniels will have big expectations in front of him for 2020, especially as eyes are on him.
“Coming back as the starting quarterback for ASU you know there’s going to be eyes on me,” Daniels said. “People are going to focus on me, but we still got guys that are coming back and new guys that are coming in that can make plays.”
And already being picked to finish as high as No. 2 in the Pac-12 South according to most pollsters, and the Sun Devils will rightfully have a target on their back. However, Jayden feels the South is “wide open” he said. “There’s a lot of physicality and a lot of speed. There’s a lot of talent in the South… anybody can win it.”
With that humble mentality, that is putting more pressure on Jayden and the Sun Devils to continue to put in the work. “That’s one thing that this off-season that I took very seriously,” he said. “Just trying to transform my body into something that we can build on.”
While the Sun Devils will have a talented group, a lot will depend on the play of Daniels, however, he appears ready for the challenge.
Arizona and ASU will kick their seasons off on November 7, and conclude it on December 11 (Friday) when they face each other in Tucson, Ariz.