HONOLULU - A former Arizona State football player who moved on to much more important battles addressed the Sun Devils before their Thursday practice at Aloha Stadium.
Lt. Gen. John Goodman, the man in command of Marine Corps Forces Pacific on Oahu island, was a quarterback for the Sun Devils from 1964-66 and also played baseball. The Vietnam veteran and Purple Heart recipient spoke about character and discipline and also cracked a joke or two.
“Camp Tontozona under Frank Kush was tougher than any military training I’ve ever done,” Goodman told the team.
ASU coach Dirk Koetter said that Goodman’s address was a perfect complement to the Pearl Harbor tour the team took on Wednesday.
“That was great for the guys to see a man of his caliber, what he’s done after playing at ASU, the message he delivered and the way he carries himself,” Koetter said. “That’s one of the special benefits of playing in a bowl game.
“The players were reminded that many of the people who died at Pearl Harbor were their age, college age. And here we are, stressing about a little football game. It makes you appreciate the people who defend our country.”
Cornerback Chris Baloney, whom ASU expected to return for the Hawaii Bowl after a lengthy absence due to a leg injury, hurt his ankle during practice on Monday and has not practiced since.
If Baloney cannot play on Sunday, Hawaii’s pass-happy offense will put extra strain on starting CBs Justin Tryon and Keno Walter-White, who have shouldered almost all of the playing time in recent games.
Meanwhile, receiver Rudy Burgess (ankle sprain) remains day-to-day.
“Rudy will go through practice where he looks good, and other parts where it looks like he’s regressing,” Koetter said.
Few ASU players are enjoying the Hawaii experience more than defensive tackle Jordan Hill, who is sharing it with his wife, Megan, and 1-year-old daughter, Taylor.
“There are things that my wife and I want to go and do, but our daughter is a little too young to get out there and snorkel and stuff like that,” Hill said. “But it’s been great to see Taylor out on the beach and walk on the sand.”
Hill will play his final game for the Sun Devils in the Hawaii Bowl. The 6-foot-2, 302-pounder is not considered a big-time pro prospect, but Hill wants to play beyond college.
“I still love the game, and when football gives up on me, that’s when it will be time to move on,” Hill said. “I’ll try to head in that direction.”
ASU’s bowl trip has been a homecoming for walk-on cornerback Chris Price. The senior was born in Honoka’a, Hawaii, and attended the University of Hawaii from 2001-05.…
The Hawaii Bowl’s kickoff banquet is tonight. Players from both teams will visit the Shriners Hospital for Children in Honolulu on Saturday.