TEMPE, AZ — After a COVID-19 outbreak wiped out their last three football games, the Arizona State Sun Devils are no longer solely game-planning for the 'invisible opponent', as Herm Edwards calls it, but also a Pac-12 opponent in UCLA.
"We're confident about playing a game," Edwards said Monday. "We're excited about playing the game. We haven't played a game in a month."
ASU has been slowly getting players back out on the practice field since last Wednesday. While the university has been tight-lipped about the number of players impacted, Edwards doesn't anticipate a last-minute audible to cancel.
"We're doing everything we can do to make sure that we're all available to go. I think that has been the cry from everyone, coaches, players, everyone involved in the building. It's a shame. We went almost eight months and we were doing a pretty good job, and then it affected us. We're glad we're past that, now turn the page and we'd like to continue to play football games."
With four weeks in between games, the Sun Devils are ramping back up like a new season is upon them.
"It feels like we're just opening the season again," said Edwards. "It's kind of funny. We opened the season against a Los Angeles team in USC, and now we're waiting for a while and playing another LA team."
The big difference there, the USC kickoff was at 9 a.m. local time. Against UCLA, it's at nearly 9 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium. And it will be December 5 when ASU may finally play its first, and perhaps only, home game this season.
"I think all the guys were excited about to play at home finally, that'll be a lot of fun," Edwards said. "It's been a long time, and so I think everyone's excited about having the opportunity to play against a good UCLA football team."