Edwards, Sun Devils Ready To Roll (Cautiously)

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File)

Thursday afternoon it officially became official for Arizona State and the rest of the conference: Pac-12 football will be back this fall after a meeting of its CEO Group.

“We have been watching from a far,” ASU head coach Herm Edwards said on a Zoom call with the media late Friday morning. “I’m happy for our football players I really am. I’m happy for our conference…I liked the way our conference handled our business to be quite honest. It’s time for us to play now. We’re excited. I know our players are excited about it.”

The Conference will continue with football, basketball and winter sports seasons. Football competition will begin on November 6th with teams playing a seven-game, conference-only football season. One new wrinkle is each school will play their five divisional games, one cross-over game and then each will be in championship week which would conclude on December 18th.

Edwards knows there’s an even greater sense of urgency this fall with the slimmed down format.

“There’s no pre-season games,” the third-year head coach explained. “It’s a tournament. Every game is important. You only play five in [division]. They’re critical games. That’s pretty unique.”

The Sun Devils offensively will lean heavily on sophomore quarterback Jayden Daniels who enters his second full season as the starter.

“The first [thing] you notice about him is his calmness,” Edwards said. He’s very calm in big moments. We built an offense around him and he knows it. He’s excited about that. All of a sudden, he’s become the face of the team but he takes it all really calm. I keep telling him to enjoy the college experience.”

While Edwards is enthusiastic for the season and fall practices, which are expected to begin October 8th or 9th, he was quick to remind the media the COVID concerns are still as hot and touch-and-go as ever.

“The invisible opponent is still out there,” he explained. “We’re just going to prepare for every week we have an opportunity to play. We’re just hoping we can stay healthy. We’re hoping the conference can stay healthy.”

Edwards continued.

“It’s not the one guy that gets it. It’s how many guys that guy takes out. Jayden Daniels is almost in a bubble in the locker room…we’re fighting two opponents here. There are 150 people in this building everyday.”

Conference Commissioner Larry Scott said Thursday evening on a webinar Pac-12 schedules and start times will likely be released next week.