While his peers around the country were competing on the gridiron Saturday, Arizona State receiver Derek Hagan was sitting on his parents’ couch in Palmdale, Calif., watching them.
"I pretty much watched every game. I flipped through them all," said Hagan, who was as intrigued by the Notre Dame-Southern California game as the rest of the country. "When you are practicing, sometimes you don’t really want to be out there. . . . But after watching the games this weekend, it made me want to be out there."
Hagan apparently wasn’t the only Sun Devil overcome by the desire to get in the game.
ASU coach Dirk Koetter said a weekend away from practice — and in many cases away from campus — energized his players after consecutive disappointments against USC and Oregon. The result Sunday evening was what he called one of the team’s best practice sessions of the season.
"I think the bye week was good for our guys," Koetter said. "Our practice last night was one of the best since we got back from Camp Tontozona. Our guys had good energy and were excited to be out there."
When the Sun Devils return to the field at 2 p.m. Saturday at Stanford, they will do so with several lingering health concerns.
Running back Randy Hill is out indefinitely but could return this season after having scar tissue removed from his surgically repaired knee. Tight end Jamaal Lewis is out until at least the Nov. 5 game against Washington State after suffering a separated shoulder in practice last week.
Defensive end Kyle Caldwell didn’t practice during the bye week after suffering a shoulder injury against Oregon but may return today.
Linebackers Jamar Williams and Nick Clapp and offensive linemen Grayling Love and Stephen Berg would have been limited to some degree if ASU had played Saturday but should all be back to full health against Stanford.
The biggest concern is the status of quarterback Sam Keller.
He had a brace put on his throwing hand after last Saturday’s loss to Oregon and hasn’t gripped a football since. He was expected to be evaluated by trainers Monday.
If he’s unable to play, Rudy Carpenter would start at quarterback with former starter Chad Christensen backing him up. Christensen has played receiver and H-back this season but returned to quarterback during the bye week.
"Sam Keller’s status is unknown," Koetter said. "The swelling is definitely down, and the pain has subsided. If it’s up to Sam, he’s going to play. The doctors have to make a decision on the severity of it and we’ll have to see what they say.
"If Sam can’t go, I’m confident that Rudy can go in his place. I’m happy with the way Rudy is playing right now."