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ASU hopes to face a well-rested, physical Cal football team

DeaMonte Trayanum #1 of the Arizona State Sun Devils dives for a touchdown past the defense of Stanley Ta'ufo'ou #47 of the USC Trojans during the second half of a game at Los Angeles Coliseum on November 07, 2020 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

When asked about their thoughts on a California team they hoped to face in a few short days, Arizona State players seemed to share a similar thought.

They are physical.

“You can’t get out-physicaled. You got to be the aggressor. You got to be the most physical, the most tough team if you are going to win the game,” running back Rachaad White said.

Regardless of the state of the opponent, Arizona State is craving its first win of the season.

The Sun Devils had a “bad taste” in their mouths after a tough 28-27 loss to USC that included a 14-point rally by the Trojans. They are looking to do whatever it takes to not feel that way again, defensive back Chase Lucas said.

“Cal is a very, very physical football team,” running back Chip Trayanum added. “We are going into this [like] a dog fight because we are 0-1 and this is their first game, so both of us are eager to get that first W under our belt.”

Cal did not play a game last week due to a positive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing amongst players. The city of Berkeley’s protocols put the Golden Bears’ defensive line group in quarantine, and the game is in doubt with no word, as of Thursday morning, if Cal can make the trip to Tempe.

ASU has no current film to study this week, which presents a challenge in their preparation.

“Me, personally, I don’t think it’s fair,” Lucas said. “Me being in my position, I have to watch a lot of film … Us playing a game against USC and (Cal) supposed to play a game and not playing because of the protocols, and them not being disciplined enough and staying within their bubble and them not having film.”

Adding to the unknowns, Cal also has a new offensive coordinator, Bill Musgrave.

Musgrave coached for a number of NFL teams and most recently was offensive coordinator for the Denver Broncos from 2017-18. While in the NFL, Musgrave faced current ASU co-defensive coordinator Marvin Lewis when he was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals.

Lewis has profiled Musgrave in the past, and there is bound to be some carryover, co-defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce said.

ASU has been relying heavily on game film from last year and Musgrave’s time in the NFL to prepare.

Meanwhile, the wait continues with some of the Golden Bears still in quarantine. Saturday’s game is easily in jeopardy.

For now, the Sun Devils will continue to prepare despite the uncertainties.

“Last time I checked, we have a game … there is no what-ifs,” Pierce said

Despite all that is stacked up against the Sun Devils, they are hungry for that first win.

Football is about adjusting, and ASU is doing just that.

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