A new era for the Arizona Cardinals lies on the precipice, but their debutant head coach has familiar jitters.
Asked by the media Friday whether he’d have butterflies prior to Sunday’s season opener versus the Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Bruce Arians was candid.
“I have them every week,” Arians answered with a chuckle.
“I always get a tear in my eye for the national anthem,” he added.
But this week, week one, is likely to be more nerve-racking than past weeks for Arians, who is an official head coach for the first time in his career. The 60-year-old served as the Indianapolis Colts’ interim head coach for the majority of last season, accruing a 9-3 record en route to earning AP Head Coach of the Year honors.
Nonetheless, he’s prepared for the challenges his team will face starting the season on the road, facing the noise of the opposition’s crowd.
Taking the crowd out of the game early, Arians said, is the ideal.
However, “You’ve got to plan for just the opposite,” he said.
“You’ve got to plan for something that gets the crowd fired up and you’ve got to answer the bell.”
Last season, the Cardinals went 1-7 on the road, their only away win coming against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium. Arians expects that to change, hoping to instill a new mental toughness in his team.
While he hopes for a big play early on, he’s not depending on it.
“It’s a lot easier if you can get it down by taking the crowd out,” Arians said, “but you’ve got to be prepared to fight it for 60 minutes.”