We’ve hit the road, virtually, to ask a few questions to our friends over at House of Sparky, SB Nation’s home for the Arizona State Sun Devils. The questions surround this weekend’s matchup between your USC Trojans and ASU, as they are set to open the Pac-12 2020 season.
Here they are, as asked by yours truly, and answered by House of Sparky’s Brady Vernon.
Thanks again, Brady, appreciate you helping out!
CC: What’s the general feel for this team’s health at this stage of the season? Are there any concerns over COVID-19 cases that may cause a shortage of players at any one position?
HoS: There has been nothing to suggest that COVID-19 will have a current impact on ASU’s roster for Saturday. (Head coach) Herm Edwards and the program did a very good job of bringing players back to school in smaller groups. I know there were a few issues when the fall first started but everything looks full go for Saturday.
CC: How have practices felt like this year? Have they been able to get after it and hit in practice like a normal fall camp?
HoS: Due to the practices being closed, we’ve only seen the footage the department has shared with us. It certainly appears that it’s been like a normal fall for the Sun Devils. They might not be hitting as much but because they benefit from one of the most experienced defenses in the conference, it might not factor in that much.
CC: Say you are Clay Helton — how do you stop Jayden Daniels?
HoS: It’s simple but pressure with contain. Pressure will always hurt quarterbacks, USC has to also make sure they don’t allow Daniels to make plays with his feet at the same time. Of course this year’s offense will be different. However, based on last year the Sun Devil offense is most dangerous when it gets vertical with Frank Darby and pressure can negate that.
CC: Who’s your pick for breakout player on offense not named Daniels or Darby?
HoS: It’s a toss-up between two freshmen. Running back DeaMonte “Chip” Trayanum and wide receiver Johnny Wilson are listed as co-starters at their respective positions heading into Saturday. Trayanum is a bruiser from Ohio who decided he didn’t want to stay near home and join Big Ten country. Wilson is the signing-day flip from Oregon who adds so much size to the Sun Devils receiver group that they haven’t had in a while.
CC: What’s your prediction for this one? Who wins? Final score?
HoS: I think USC wins 24-21. My gut tells me that Arizona State’s defense will keep them in it and the offense will come out slow. In the end, it feels like the Trojans will pull it out.