Two days after a heartbreaking loss to USC, Arizona State is looking to mend its wounds quickly with the California Golden Bears (hopefully) coming to Tempe this weekend.
After a canceled game against Washington due to a positive COVID-19 test, Cal will be playing its first game of the year under head coach Kyle Wilcox.
Although there is still uncertainty on whether Cal will be able to play Saturday’s contest pending that all health precautions get cleared, the game appears to still be set up at Sun Devil Stadium.
ASU head coach Herm Edwards spoke on the COVID-19 concerns and dove into his thoughts in the aftermath of the Sun Devil implosion at the LA Coliseum on Monday.
Tough Pill To Swallow
Even two days later, it’s still hard to comprehend what happened to ASU in the closing minutes of Saturday’s meltdown in Los Angeles.
The Devils’ were in the driver’s seat. The defense forced four turnovers, the offense ran the ball effectively, and the lead was at two touchdowns with under five minutes remaining. Then the final three minutes hit.
After that, all hell broke loose. Anything bad that could have happened, happened. Whether it be dropped onside kicks, offsides penalties, or not making stops on fourth down, things went south.
Edwards, who has been in just about every type of football game imaginable during his tenured career, was even still perplexed.
“Never one like this that I’ve lost. I’ve won some that I shouldn’t have won...but this, it’s a hard one to swallow,” Edwards said.
Through all of the messes in Saturday’s opener, Edwards alluded to one of his biggest concerns, which was how his offense performed at the start, and end of the game. The Sun Devils did not score a touchdown in both the first and fourth quarter.
Regardless of how the game is diced up, Edwards noted that his team had to find a way to get past it and not let it linger.
“You can look at it a lot of ways,” Edwards said. “But we just didn’t capitalize.”
When asked about the Coronavirus potentially threatening the Pac-12 season on Monday, Edwards had a slight chuckle before putting up both of his hands and crossing his fingers.
With positive cases at Utah, Cal, Stanford, and Washington State, the Pac-12 got off to a less than ideal start in week one in regards to trying to control outbreaks. At Utah, one player was even hospitalized from the team’s outbreak.
With so much uncertainty and cases continuing to rise in the United States, all ASU and every other team can do is hope they navigate their way through the upcoming winter months.
“Before we even started, there were games canceled,” Edwards said. “It’s not like a certain conference, you don’t have to worry about it. We all have to worry about it. I think every coach and player understands that. We’ve said it from the start. We’re playing against two opponents - the opponent you game plan for every week and that other opponent that you can’t see, and it’s the virus. It’s out there and it’s heading in the wrong direction right now.”
Frank Darby Update
Sun Devil senior wide receiver Frank Darby, a leader in the locker room and expected to be one of ASU’s top wideouts this season, was out for much of the team’s opening loss on Saturday after an injury.
Edwards is hopeful that he’ll return against Cal, but nothing has been made official yet. Without the veteran wideout, a young group of ASU receivers struggled finding space against USC, leaving the offense to put the passing game in the back seat and run the football instead behind the likes of DeaMonte Trayanum and Rachaad White.