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ASU’s Herm Edwards: ‘We started something and have to finish it’

Arizona State coach Herm Edwards watches from the sideline during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019. Oregon State won 35-34. (AP Photo/Steve Dykes)

When Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Herm Edwards sat down for his first press conference of the season prior to a matchup with the USC Trojans, everything seemed full steam ahead.

Edwards made a point to stress the importance of winning each game due to the coronavirus-shortened season.

“We have no wiggle room as far as being canceled,” he said. “It’s going to come fast and it’s going to go fast.”

ASU has had to cancel three games due to COVID-19 in just the last few weeks, leaving only two contests remaining on the 2020 docket.

But no matter the setback, the Sun Devils plan to finish the season. No players thus far have opted out for health reasons that Edwards is aware of.

“We started something and we have to finish it,” Edwards said. “You have to finish things in life, regardless of what it looks like and what it feels like. You can’t quit. You don’t get to tap out.”

The head coach was one of the multiple members within the ASU football program to test positive for COVID-19.

“I told my wife when we first started this deal, ‘You know what, I’m probably going to catch it.’” he said. “I knew exactly what I was walking into and I did everything possible not to do it and I went for eight months — a whole eight months.

“And then everything I could do to make sure that I wasn’t going to contract the virus and for God’s sake I didn’t want to give it to anybody, and it happened.”

During his time in isolation, Edwards returned text messages and phone calls from concerned family and friends, reflected and planned ahead for spring football in 2021.

Never in his life has Edwards encountered anything like this. The only other catastrophic event that he was involved in was the attack on Sept. 11 when he was the head coach for the New York Jets.

“I remember it like it was yesterday,” he added.

But Edwards was excited to return to practice, with Wednesday being a “watered-down version” of a normal session.

“You don’t realize how much you miss it until it’s taken away from you,” the head coach said.

ASU’s next game is currently scheduled against the UCLA Bruins at Sun Devil Stadium on Dec. 5.


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