There are lots of benefits to a bye week, rest and recovery being one of the most obvious ones. But for Arizona State football, the bye week can also be a curse, especially when the mistakes made in the 41-27 loss to Oregon are still lingering fresh in their heads.
"They didn't beat us, we beat ourselves," said sophomore defensive back Alden Darby.
Darby believes that it's pretty much a consensus that most players are still feeling the effects of the loss. In fact, Darby claims that he has never felt more hurt after a loss in his entire life.
"I know we were better than those guys," Darby said. "We should have beat them."
Instead, the penalties piled up to the tune of eight flags for a total of 95 yards.
"Nobody plays a perfect game," Darby said. "But we had more mistakes than normal and it cost us big."
But Darby also knows that some yellow laundry on the field wasn't just their only form of mistake.
"It's [also] guys blitzing the wrong gap, it's picking up this guy and not making that check. Just little mistakes that can't happen that's going to lose us the ball game like [they] did."
Still, there is some silver lining to be found in the overdose of blunders in last Saturday's loss. Darby believes that the team "tried too hard" and "by the mistakes we made, you could tell we were hungry to win." Even seven days later, that hunger has still not subsided.
"We're not scared of anybody," Darby said. "But we want to play Oregon [again]. We want another chance just to show everybody that it wasn't them that beat us, it was ourselves."
Unfortunately for Darby and the rest of the Sun Devils, that is entirely out of their hands. Assuming ASU stays firmly in the driver seat to win the Pac-12 South and doesn't slip up too much along the way, then the opponent they face in the Pac-12 Championship game will most likely come down to whoever wins the November 12 match up of Oregon at Stanford. And if Oregon wins, that means back to the hostile environment of Autzen Stadium one more time.
For now though, the team is just doing a lot of self-evaluating before the Colorado comes to town in a week. And even though ASU is sitting pretty at 5-2, Darby is still not satisfied.
"I have yet to see us play a game to our full potential, on defense [or] offense."
But Darby knows the team learned a valuable lesson in Eugene last Saturday; a lesson that he believes will make them better in the long term.
"That game taught us the more disciplined team is going to win," Darby said. "It doesn't come down to who has better athletes or better talent or speed. It comes down to who is more disciplined."