While I’m generally in favor of summer, as a fan and writer of football, I’m thankful the end of August is near.
Because training camps are ending.
Because the NFL exhibition season is over.
Because college teams finally play a game.
Because speculation and prognostication give way to reality.
Because I know that Cardinals coach Steve Wilks likes gospel music and bought a nice house in Chandler.
Because I know that Arizona State coach Herm Edwards plays soft jazz in his office and lives close enough to walk to work.
Now, I get to see if they can coach.
Not that the information gleaned over the last eight months without a football game in the state has been useless.
Not at all. When it comes to football, we have a lot of new, shiny things in Arizona and we needed to learn about them.
Wilks, Edwards and Arizona’s Kevin Sumlin are in their first seasons here. The Cardinals have a new starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, and a backup, Josh Rosen, who was drafted 10th overall.
The final phase of a $307 million renovation of Sun Devil Stadium is complete.
All of those things are worthy of the exhaustive coverage given over the last eight months. The deep profiles. The slideshows. The videos.
But now I’m exhausted.
Edwards appears to be, too. From Dec. 4, the day he was named coach, through Wednesday, the last time he was available to reporters before Saturday’s game against Texas-San Antonio, Edwards has given hundreds of interviews for multitudes of stories.
“And I haven’t read any of them,” Edwards said. “I know you guys are good reporters and writers. It’s nothing on you guys, I just don’t. I don’t get involved in it.”
Edwards granted the interviews because it’s part of his outgoing nature. It was also prime time to sell the program to recruits, fans, media or anyone else who showed interest. About the only network that didn’t send a camera crew to Tempe was TMZ, which is a good thing for ASU.
But this week, on the eve of the Sun Devils’ first game, the focus should shift from the coach to players, Edwards said. On Saturday, no cameras will be allowed to record his entrance to Sun Devil Stadium.
“I’ll find a way to sneak in here,” he said. “I’m not going to tell anybody when I’m getting here. Who’s doing our game? Fox? They might be mad, but that’s OK. It’s not about me, it’s about these players. I didn’t do this for the accolades at all.
“It’s about trying to build a program, trying to do something special here.”
There are times when all of us would like to hit a fast-forward button. As an NFL beat writer, it was usually in late August for me, between the third preseason game and the first regular-season game.
The major themes of the upcoming season have been explored, such as new coaches, new quarterbacks, overcoming failure, building upon success. The first three preseason games, the ones in which the starters have played, have been reported and conclusions made.
“Fifteen years (in), next Thursday can’t come fast enough,” Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald said last week, referring to the preseason finale against the Broncos.
Fitzgerald has said many times that the monotonous grind of the offseason is one of the few things he won’t miss after retirement.
For most anyone who cares about football, August moves like it just had double-knee replacement.
That includes players, who have gone through hundreds of workouts and practices without the outlet of a game.
“They’re anxious to play a game,” Edwards said of his players. “Why wouldn’t you be? It’s been over 200 days that we’ve been doing this. Football’s a funny game, 200-plus practices and you get to play 12 of them (games).”
Don’t get me wrong, August. Even with your haboobs and endless preseason football practices and games, it’s been nice seeing you, given the alternative. But we’re anxious to see a month wearing a different colored jersey.
COMPLETE FOOTBALL COVERAGE:
Reach Somers at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @kentsomers. Hear Somers every Friday between 4 and 4:30 p.m. on The Drive with Jody Oehler on Fox Sports 910 AM.