HONOLULU - Despite the swap meet going on in the parking lot outside, Arizona State has no better place to undergo Hawaii Bowl dress rehearsals — Aloha Stadium, site of Sunday’s game.
Working out at the facility affords the Sun Devils more than ample time to get used to the conditions. Normally, teams see a bowl stadium only for the day before game walk-through practice.
“These guys are seeing what the stadium is like and getting used to the turf, which we haven’t played on a lot of this year,” coach Dirk Koetter said. “As far as being an advantage, and this time of year, probably not. A stadium won’t be a big adjustment for them.
“The big thing is that on game day, it will be really loud, and we can’t duplicate that.”
Though Sunday’s game is in the stadium of ASU’s opponent, Hawaii, the Sun Devils will be the designated home team and wear maroon jerseys.
ASU utilized its seven practices on campus to put the entire game plan in, leaving the Honolulu workouts for polishing.
“We wanted to get everything taken care of (in Tempe) so the guys could just go there and keep it tuned in and just concentrate on having fun,” Koetter said. “But we’ll be ready for the game.”
Incoming coach Dennis Erickson said he could have his staff finalized as soon as today.
“I don’t want to name names because I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple of guys,” Erickson said via telephone from the Valley.
Craig Bray — a former Erickson aide who is an assistant at Minnesota — has been speculated to fill the defensive coordinator position.
The confirmed assistants are Rich Olson (offensive coordinator), Gregg Smith (offensive line), Dan Cozzetto (tight ends), Eric Yarber (receivers), Grady Stretz (defensive line), Al Simmons (cornerbacks) and Jamie Christian (role to be determined).
“It’s a staff I like and know I can rely on,” Erickson said. “I’m happy with how it’s come together. We haven’t been turned down by anyone we (offered) a job to.”
Receiver Rudy Burgess (high ankle sprain) looked better on Tuesday, but his playing against Hawaii is still no guarantee, Koetter said.
The junior has not seen action since Oct. 28 at Washington.
Last week, Burgess indicated the ankle was at about 80 percent.
“But if I was at 1 percent, I would still be on the field,” Burgess said.
Unfortunately for Burgess, that is not his decision. Koetter said that, given the lengthy healing time for most high-ankle sprains, he does not want to play Burgess if he is not at or near fully recovered.
“Besides, if a guy is not at least 90 percent, I don’t think he’ll be of much help to us,” Koetter said.
Reserve tight end Dane Guthrie, a sophomore, did not accompany the Sun Devils to Hawaii, joining senior receivers Terry Richardson and Jamaal Lewis as players staying home. Koetter would not comment on Guthrie’s absence.
Junior-college players who intend to transfer for the spring semester can sign letters of intent today. Erickson said he thinks the Sun Devils will get help from the JC ranks, but he is most pleased at ASU’s retaining many of its high school oral commitments through the coaching change....
Both teams tour Pearl Harbor today.