JONESBORO -- Tyler Greve has been waiting for this chance since he crossed town to enroll at Arkansas State four years ago.
He just isn't sure if the opportunity to finally start for the Red Wolves has come under the most preferred of circumstances.
When ASU began fall practice two days ago, Greve was snapping the ball to quarterback Fredi Knighten with the first-team offense, the same way he was through the latter half of spring practice in April when he stepped in for an injured Bryce Giddens. Barring injury, Greve will most likely be doing the same when ASU opens the season Aug. 30 against Montana State. It will be the first career start for the fifth-year senior from Jonesboro.
"I guess you can say I've waited my turn," Greve said. "I'm definitely going to capitalize on it. You're not going to see anybody trying harder than me, or any of these other fifth-year guys, because we know this is our last go around."
Greve is appreciative of the opportunity given to him by first-year offensive line coach Glen Elarbee, but he said he knows it's come because of one of ASU's biggest losses during the offseason. Giddens missed the last half of spring practice because of concussions, and the school announced in July that he was quitting football with two years of eligibility remaining because of lingering injuries.
Giddens will remain on scholarship while working toward his degree and will play a role in the athletic department.
"I hate it for Bryce," Greve said. "He was a great player, a great team leader. ... I'm just myself. I'm not the most athletically blessed guy, I'm not the biggest or the strongest. But I've had to rely on my brain. That's what has gotten me where I'm at right now."
The work for Greve began in earnest right after spring break when Giddens didn't return from an injury. At the time nobody was sure of Giddens' status. Elarbee inserted Greve at center because he was the only one on the team with any experience, and he hasn't given the spot up.
"He learned everything quickly, got guys in the right spots," Elarbee said. "He didn't miss too much of a beat."
Coach Blake Anderson announced Wednesday that ASU had signed center Jonathan Hamilton of Riverside (Calif.) City College, but Elarbee insisted it had nothing to do with their confidence in Greve.
"We needed a little bit of help," Elarbee said.
Greve had his eyes on the starting job long before he arrived at ASU. He attended games at ASU Stadium while growing up in Jonesboro, and he committed to then-coach Steve Roberts without giving much consideration to other schools.
"I put all my emphasis on coming here," he said.
Greve and six other fifth-year seniors who were part of Roberts' final recruiting class in 2010 will earn the distinction of playing their career under five different head coaches while also helping ASU's program rise to heights it hadn't approached since it moved to the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision in 1992.
Greve said just being part of such a journey has meant everything to him.
"When I first got here, the culture was different," said Greve, who graduated in May with a degree in early childhood education. "We had the guys to win, we just didn't know how to win yet. ... Now it's an expectation."
Sports on 08/02/2014
Print Headline: Greve snaps to it