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ASU Football: Herm Edwards previews marquee Pac-12 South matchup against UCLA

Heading to LA

Zac BonDurant

It’s a Victory Monday for Arizona State football following a convincing home victory over Colorado on Saturday night. Despite the win, head coach Herm Edwards’ weekly press conference started on a somber note, as he addressed the tragic shootings that took the life of Utah’s Aaron Lowe, and seriously injured Washington State’s Brandon Gray over the weekend.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to Utah and to Washington state. We live in this world where we think that everyday we’re gonna get up and control our destiny. When you see something like that really hits home, it’s just sad and our prayers go out to their families and their universities,” Edwards said. “That’s probably the most important thing I can tell you today.”

Shifting to football, Edwards and the Sun Devils have their sights set on a tall task this week, as they travel to Pasadena, California to take on UCLA. The Bruins (3-1) have put together an impressive start, and have finally seemed to find their stride under head coach Chip Kelly in his fifth season.

“Chip’s done a nice job building that program down there. They’re very good against the run, they average almost 40 points a game, and they play good 3rd down defense. On Offense they have a dynamic quarterback who can throw it and run it, along with two big bruising backs. It’s a very very complimentary football team.”

Arizona State has been very active in recruiting from the Southern California area. Jayden Daniels, Jack Jones, LV Bunkley-Shelton and a number of other players hail from the area, and will be returning this weekend for ASU’s only game in the Golden State this season.

“We’ve got a lot of players who come from the Los Angeles area,” Edwards said. “They have to get their mindset to go back home, a lot of times they get excited about going back home but they have to keep their poise and make sure this thing doesn’t get away from them.”

UCLA signal-caller Dorian Thompson-Robinson is a talented dual threat quarterback. Like many defenses at any level of football, ASU has struggled to contain both parts of a mobile quarterback’s game over the last couple seasons.

“No one’s gonna stop him, you’re gonna try to contain him, and hold him to a minimum,” Edwards said. “Great athletes, you’re not gonna stop ‘em. You have to understand the rush lanes. A lot of teams when they empty the backfield, they run a QB draw if no one’s accounting for the QB. You have to be aware of all those things.”

“(UCLA) has a lot of eye candy, and you have to have clean eyes. Play with dirty eyes, it turns out being a dirty play, a bad play on your part. They run a lot of motion, a lot of shifts. They’re a big time fourth down team too, if he feels like he has momentum he’ll go for it on fourth down.”

A week after indicating he would be more tight-lipped regarding injury news, Edwards answered an injury question briefly, but clearly. Specifically, Chase Lucas, Deamonte Trayanum and Bryan Thompson.

“He’s gonna play, he’s gonna play, and he’s gonna play,” Edwards rattled off the short response. “Anybody else? Three-for-three! We’re good. Next question.”

It’s safe to say Herm has been more eager to elaborate before.

Despite the disappointing loss at BYU, all of Arizona State’s goals remain in front of them. A wide open Pac-12 south division presents ASU with the opportunity to take the bull by the horns and control its own destiny in the remaining eight games.

“They’re all important. You know that if you’ve been in this conference,” Edwards said. “You only play nine, and you can’t lose a bunch of them because then you don’t control your own destiny. These players have heard that from me and they understand the significance of it. You play nine precious Pac-12 games, and they’re all meaningful, that’s the bottom line. Nine games, how many can you win.”

Expect a festive atmosphere Saturday evening in Pasadena, but perhaps not as rowdy as the crowd in Provo, Utah. After a week that showcased significant progress regarding penalties, ASU will be tested on the road once again, with the 7:30 kickoff being broadcasted on FS1.