November 24, 2004
Last week’s open date has enabled the Arizona State football team to feel stronger and more refreshed, coach Dirk Koetter said, though it expects to be short-handed at tailback — again — for Friday’s game at Arizona.
Hakim Hill’s ankle and Rudy Burgess' shoulders felt fine, Koetter said on Tuesday, and they will be healthy enough to take handoffs against the Wildcats. However, Preston Jones is ailing and is doubtful, the coach said.
“It will be the Hakim and Rudy show at tailback, and we’ll have to hope that will be enough,” Koetter said.
ASU did not practice on Friday and Saturday, allowing players to mend from the typical wear and tear of a season.
“We’ve been so much fresher in practice, and you can see it in our team speed,” Koetter said.
The Sun Devils put four players on the Pac-10’s All-Academic team, with offensive lineman Grayling Love (3.48 grade-point average, finance major) and punter Chris McDonald (3.11, undeclared) making the first team.
Long snapper Jason Burke (3.89, economics) and kicker Jesse Ainsworth (3.62, undeclared) were second-team selections, and offensive lineman Andrew Carnahan (3.12, construction), quarterback Chad Christensen (3.89, finance) and offensive lineman Brandon Rodd (3.10, undeclared) were honorable mention choices.
After a morning walk-though practice on Thursday, ASU’s players will have six hours to participate in Thanksgiving activities before their evening buses depart for Tucson.
Koetter said the Sun Devils can enjoy a normal turkey dinner with all the trimmings and still be light on their feet for Friday’s game,
“These guys are their age, not our age,” Koetter said, smiling. “They can pretty much (digest) anything.”