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O'Brien Working to Remain SDSU's Quarterback

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Today was media day in Brookings for SDSU's fall sports. And head football coach John Stieglemeier cut right to the chase with a subject a lot of Jackrabbit fans have been wondering about, saying the quarterback play this season has got to be better. The guy under center right now, Thomas O'Brien, is confident he can handle that request.

It's no secret, O'Brien has had some struggles in the past.

So coming into this season, the junior from Winona, Minnesota started working hard to end those struggles.

"Starting this spring," O'Brien said, "I got back with the whole team and tried to learn from our mistakes in the fall."

And with that in mind, Jackrabbit Head Coach John Stiegelmeier still has faith that O'Brien, who had a 54 percent completion rate with 10 TD's and 15 picks last year, can turn things around.

"He has all the tools, he's a really good leader, he just has to make better decisions," Stiegelmeier said, "He's done that in the past, he did it last year, he'll do it this year, I believe in that."

But that doesn't mean O'Brien's job is safe, Stiegelmeier says there's definitely a quarterback competition going on in Brookings.

"Yeah, and I think no matter how many years a guy's started, there's competition," Stiegelmeier said, "There should be competion."

And one of the biggest competitors for the quarterback position is redshirt freshman Austin Sumner. But the 6'5" phenom from Brandon says all he wants is a winning Jackrabbit team.

"I'm just gonna play my hardest," Sumner said, "All the quarterbacks are, we're gonna do whatever it takes to get the Jackrabbits to go 1 and 0 every week so whatever happens, happens."

It seems like quite a few members of the team feel that way.

Despite the competition at quarterback, the Jackrabbits say that no matter who's under center, they're going to have confidence in him.

"Anyone they would put back there," Running Back Tyrel Kool said, "I would feel absolutely comfortable with."

And O'Brien knows he needs to step up if he plans on being that guy.

"Every year the quarterback has to play well for the team to succeed," O'Brien said, "This year is no different from last year. I have a big responsibility for this team and I need to perform for our team to do well."

The Jackrabbits are coming off a 5 and 6 record in 2010.

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