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ASU coach Herm Edwards optimistic Pac-12 football is around the corner

ASU football head coach Herm Edwards interviews with Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station on Feb. 10, 2020. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards sees hope for Pac-12 football to happen this school year and perhaps before the calendar flips to 2021.

The Sun Devils remain in wait-and-see mode, unable to play touch football but holding organized workouts to stay in shape. However, a recent coronavirus testing breakthrough for the conference has recharged hope that it can resume play in the coming months.

“Eventually, I think we’re going to get to a mode where we get to practicing,” Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Monday. “We had a meeting with the Pac-12 coaches last week and things sound a whole lot better for us as a conference … maybe late December or January (we will be able) to play a shortened schedule. It sounded pretty optimistic, so that’s a good thing.”

ASU players are currently going through team-planned workouts. The Sun Devils can conduct walkthroughs, lift, plus do running and individual drills.

The Pac-12 and Quidel Corp recently agreed to a partnership to conduct daily antigen tests that have a 15-minute turnaround time. The ability to test before practices and games — and thus allowing teams to avoid spreading coronavirus — is viewed as a game-changer.

The Pac-12 is the most apprehensive of Power Five conferences to move toward a restart of sports.

Its university presidents voted Aug. 11 to postpone all fall sports until at least the spring due to the coronavirus threat. That came after the league already dropped non-conference football games and reformatted the 2020 season to only include conference foes.

Concerns remain as ASU and the University of Arizona are among those to grapple with how to contain outbreaks on campus since in-person classes began.

Meanwhile, college football seasons elsewhere in the country have moved forward.

The Big 12 and ACC began altered regular seasons in the past few weeks. The SEC will begin in two weeks, and the Big Ten is reportedly close to mapping out a return, perhaps scheduling games as soon as October.

According to the Mercury News’ Jon Wilner, the hurdles for the Pac-12 include making protocols for using the Quidel antigen tests and getting government clearance from California and Oregon to allow their universities to conduct practices and games.

“We’re going to restart when the doctors say we can restart,” Edwards said. “I’m not a doctor, so I’m not going to get into that argument. I think with the new testing now that’s available to us, 15-minute turnaround, that’s going to help tremendously.”

In the meantime, the ASU head coach is watching NFL and college football games, taking notes and planning how to get his team prepared if the Pac-12 gives the go-ahead for the Sun Devils to start practicing.

ASU players, Edwards said, are hanging in there, hoping they can join the pros and other college conferences on the field.

“For the most part, they’re doing OK. They really are,” he said. “I know they’re a little bit disappointed because they can’t play right yet, but I think with the hope of us playing in the next couple of months … that gives them excitement.”

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