Devils Prepare Mentally For The Stanford Game

The tragic terrorist attack on September 11th has changed the country and its people forever. Needless to say, that the ASU Football team wasn't immune from the terribly sad emotions associated with this event. But as the nation and its sports try and inch towards normalcy, it's time for ASU to get back to the business of playing Football. This week they go on their first Pac-10 game, as well as its first road game of this young season. What are some of the player's mindset for this weekend?

Center Scott Peters knows that being on an airplane, hardly ranks as an enjoyable activity for his teammates: "Guys are tentative going on a plane period. We had lighting hit our plane twice last year (after the Washington State game). Most guys don't fly much overall. So I think some guys are scared to fly period." When asked about the range of emotions the team will have when it takes the field on Saturday, Peters said: "It will be emotional standing on the sidelines when the national anthem is played, and it should be. But I think we'll be able to use that emotion to our advantage and play well on Saturday."

The terrorist attack really helped wide receiver Donnie O'neal to put things in perspective: "For a little while I was trippin' out. Major events were happening in our country, and I personally have my opinions on a lot of things. It was a tragic event that caused us to think differently about everything, and as far as Football is concerned I'm only 21 and I want to see better things ahead of me in life. Football just seems like a small part of my life. Right now things seem to have tapered down, so it's easier to get back in the swing of things. We have to focus on the game right now. Tuesday and Wednesday we had excellent practices. We just have to build on that and keep going." How did the team use the forced bye week? "We got a little extra time to correct everything that we did wrong" says O'neal "and the coach had time to instill his game plan. We really had only two extra practices to prepare for Stanford, but other than that we really didn't have more practices than usual." As far as his thoughts for this week, he merely says: "Stanford is our first Pac-10 game and we need to win it. It's that simple."

Football has always been as mental a game as it is physical. The frame of mind of all Football teams this weekend, may be stronger in determining the outcome than the physical aspect. Whether it's keeping emotions in check or building upon them – the Sun Devils will have to gamble on which approach to take, in hopes that their choice will yield positive results. Even tough it's only the second game of the season; the mental readiness of the team can carry long-lasting effects, positive or negative, that can define ASU's 2001 Football season.

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