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Herm Edwards pleased with Sun Devils’ resiliency in 2020

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards calls out to players during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Oregon State in Corvallis, Ore., Saturday, Dec. 19, 2020. Arizona State won 46-33. (AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

When you sift through the sports history books 10 years down the line, 2020 will certainly stand out like a sore thumb. Whether there’s an asterisk or not.

With cancellations, postponements and opt outs used more times than liked, it has been a wild roller coaster of a year.

Of the teams directly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Arizona State Sun Devils were one of the hardest hit.

ASU was able to play its season opener against USC, but was shuttered for more than three weeks when the team was hit with positive coronavirus cases.

Three games later, their season would come to a close after a 46-33 win over Oregon State to finish the season at 2-2.

But with so many additional factors added into this season due to the coronavirus pandemic, head coach Herm Edwards felt it was the right thing to do to end the 2020 campaign following the victory up in Corvallis, Ore., foregoing the possibility of a bowl game.

“We always look at the student athletes, their best interest, and it was for our best interest to opt out [of bowl game consideration],” Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Monday. “There was just no way these kids could go through any more than they’ve gone through.

“The experience of it is a little bit different now with COVID, for the fact that you really can’t go to the bowl site. Most of the bowl games have no fans and that’s what you want to celebrate. It’s a shame that it happened this way. … We decided we had enough football and we’ll huddle back up hopefully in March when spring ball starts again.”

For Edwards, he and the Sun Devils are taking the good with the bad from this wacky season.

Despite having positive coronavirus cases within ASU’s program — on top of numerous schedule changes — it still managed a .500 record. The adversity the players alone faced throughout the shortened season adds yet another layer to the team’s successes in 2020.

It bodes well for the tightknit Sun Devils team heading into next year.

“Everybody had to adjust and I thought for the most part, this last game was good for us in a sense that we needed to win two in a row, finish the season at .500 but build some momentum going into next season,” Edwards said.

“It’s a shame we let those first two games get away, we lose two games by a total of eight points. That’s something we’re going to have to live with. Hopefully we can get off to a better start next year.”

2020 could be written off as a learning experience for just about everyone. The normalcies that people took for granted suddenly vanished, leaving everyone to switch up their routine in order to continue to move forward through the pandemic.

If there was one thing Edwards learned this season, it’s that his group of kids have a ton of heart.

“We stuck together, there was no finger pointing, no opting out, there were no blame games,” Edwards said. “I think the thing I realized most about young people is that they have resilience and they truly love the game of football.

“To have to go through what they had to do to go to practice everyday. We never sat down as a team to have a meeting.”


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