What does Arizona State get as a reward for putting together its most impressive win of the season on the road? A short week. A short week leading up to a clash with a Stanford team that is riding high after taking down formerly No. 3 Oregon this past week in Palo Alto. During his weekly press conference, coach Herm Edwards previewed the matchup with the Cardinal, and reflected on what was a statement win in Pasadena.
“It’s a short week for both teams, we don’t get a lot of sleep on weeks like this. That’s what makes it fun, especially when you’re winning. This will be a test for us.”
Sizing up the Cardinal
Stanford is an interesting case study in 2021, to say the least. The Cardinal got blown out in their first game at lowly Kansas State, but have notched both an impressive road win at USC, and the mega upset Saturday against Oregon. When you factor in a close home loss against UCLA, it seems as though Stanford doesn’t have any more of an idea of its team identity than we do.
“They’re a very sound football team, they’ve played well in Pac-12 play thus far,” Edwards said. “Offensively they use multi-personnel groups. Very balanced on offense. Young quarterback’s got a really nice arm, he can really throw the football, they have some big time wide receivers too. A complete football team in all phases.”
There are a number of identifiable patterns taking shape within ASU football, some good and some bad. Clearly, they play better on both sides of the ball in the second half. Edwards discussed what might be behind his team’s halftime adjustments.
“You gotta give a lot of credit to our staff and to the players. Football is about teaching, what you see on the field and how you look at ti and deliver it to our players on the sideline and at halftime. In college football, you have 20 minutes and it seems like forever. They’ve done a nice job adjusting to things we tell them.”
An injury update, but on a coach
Offensive coordinator Zak Hill was more banged up than any of his players Saturday, as the coach was hobbled with a bad back. Instead of his usual sideline duties during the game, he was perched in the more comfortable coordinator’s booth.
“I see him before we leave, and he’s walking around like he got in a car accident,” Edwards said. “I said you gotta go in the box right? So we had to move him up there, and change everything we were doing with player personnel. It worked out well.”
It worked out so well, that Edwards isn’t eager to make a change.
“We’ll probably have him in the box again.”
On DJ Taylor’s rough night
“I gave him a hug after the game because I could tell he was a little down. Didn’t say anything, just hugged him. There’s a fine line as a returner, and sometimes the best play is know the situation. He’ll survive it and learn from it.”
Late night… Again
It was announced Monday morning that the October 16th game at Utah will be yet another evening kickoff, getting underway at 7:00 PST, and 8:00 local time. This ensures that at least ASU’s first seven games will be played after dark. While this has become a Pac-12 staple, specifically for ASU early in the year with unbearable heat during the day, it can be seen as a disadvantage due to the late nights that follow the game, and lack of preparation time for the following week’s game. Not one to make excuses, Edwards doesn’t believe his team has an uphill battle without matinees.
“The Pac-12, that’s what we do, we play at night,” Edwards smiled. “That’s an excuse, don’t want to get into that. It’s a long wait, I know that. I got to the stadium at 3:00, better than sitting at the hotel. It’s a long wait, but we’re used to playing at night.”
It’s Friday night lights this week, ASU vs Stanford kicks off at 7:30 on ESPN U.
Jayden Daniels and LaDarius Henderson earned Pac-12 Weekly awards as well. Daniels named the Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Week following a two-touchdown, 286-yard performance against UCLA. He also threw for 22 yards per completion. Henderson led a dominate effort from the offensive line from the right guard spot to take home the Pac-12 Offensive Lineman of the Week.