For the third straight game, Arizona State will face an interim coach when the Sun Devils travel to Washington for a Pacific-12 Conference matchup Saturday.
UW coach Jimmy Lake was suspended for a week by athletic director Jen Cohen for a sideline altercation with one of his players in a 26-16 home loss to No. 4 Oregon last Saturday. Defensive coordinator Bob Gregory will act as head coach for the Huskies (4-5, 3-3).
The Sun Devils (6-3, 4-2) previously went up against Washington State’s Jake Dickert and USC’s Donte Williams.
“The coaches basically decide what kind of plan you want to present to the players, but you still have the same players,” Arizona State coach Herm Edwards said about facing an interim coach.
“I think whoever sits in that coach’s seat, you gotta realize the players don’t change, and you have to put them in the best position to be successful. The system’s in; you’re not going to change the system in a week. It’s all about the players.”
The Huskies also will have an interim offensive coordinator after John Donovan was fired Sunday after UW had just 166 yards against the Ducks. Wide receivers coach Junior Adams will call the plays.
“We’ve had a lot of adversity this year. We’ve had some tough times, but our team has fought the entire time,” Gregory said. “We’ve been close. We’ve just got to get over the hurdle.”
Lake’s altercation came as he tried to diffuse a sideline scrum between walk-on linebacker Ruperake Fuavai and an Oregon player. Lake appeared to make contact with Fuavai’s facemask with the coach’s play card and then shoved the redshirt freshman in the back.
“They’re college kids, and they hear all the outside noise, and they know that this is a challenging time for us,” Gregory said. “But they also are competitors, and they want to go out and practice and win. So all that being said, I’m not sure if it matters if I’m the interim guy or whoever it is — these guys are going to compete and play hard.”
The Sun Devils snapped a two-game losing streak with a 31-16 victory against visiting USC last Saturday as Rachaad White rushed for 202 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.
ASU continued to struggle through the air, however, as Jayden Daniels was 11-of-20 passing for 145 yards with two interceptions.
Asked about the benefit of a strong passing game, Edwards said, “It’s easier to fly to California than it is to drive. The plane is easier.”
–Field Level Media