ASU’s new HC joined Gunther & Hackett on Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Gunther & Hackett spoke to Arizona State’s new Head Coach Herm Edwards while he was on the road recruiting. Not only did he share a story about a former Australian punter, he shared his vision for the Sun Devils and why he came back to coaching.
“[It] Started with the leadership. Started with [Arizona State President] Dr. [Michael] Crow and then [Athletic Director] Ray Anderson and the vision they have for here,” Coach Edwards explained. “When you look at this campus, one of the most diverse campuses in college. I thought it was a unique situation for me to be in a position to have two men that basically I report to that have the same frame of mind and the same vision as far as student-athletes and what they’re trying to build here.”
By general consensus, Coach Edwards’s strength should be on the recruiting trail, if not his football acumen. He coached the Under Armour All-American game for the past eight years. As an ESPN personality, he turned on the charm once the red light flashes – now replace those with living rooms. In less than a month, Coach Edwards cobbled together 11 signees on early signing day, including four-star linebacker Reggie Hughes. As it stands, the Sun Devils have the 77th ranked recruiting class according to 247 sports.
This weekend will be a pivotal weekend in terms of adding depth to his squad. ASU will need to replace three players off to the NFL early – LB Christian Sam, DE Jo Jo Wicker, and OL Sam Jones. Edwards stressed the importance of being able to sell his program.
“Every home is a little bit different. The structure at home is a little bit different. That tells you some things about this young man as well,” Edwards said. There’s a lot of information that has been gathered on these young people in the last couple of years, going back to when they’re sophomores in high school to their counselor to their coaches. It’s almost like the NFL with the information you gather as you try to entertain this young man for two or three years to come to your university.”
Offensively, the Sun Devils will stay relatively the same. Despite losing offensive coordinator Billy Napier to Louisiana, there’s continuity on the offensive staff. Edwards promoted wide receivers coach Rob Likens to the head spot.
The changes will be on defense. ASU will run a 3-3-5 stack defense under former San Diego State DC Danny Gonzales.
“When you play with those five guys in the back end, especially the way we’re going to do it, we’re going to need athletic guys that can cover because we’re going to put pressure on the quarterback. And those guys are going to be asked to cover receivers,” Edwards explained.
The rest of the staff boasts impressive names that are familiar for Utah fans. Former ESPN personality Antonio Pierce (Linebackers), former BYU DE Shaun Nua (Defensive Line), and former Utah OC Dave Christensen (Offensive Line) headline the list.
As far as competing in the Pac-12 South division, Edwards explained that the staff is still looking inward before examining the opponents. Still, the ex-NFL head man offered praise to their rival up north and Coach Kyle Whittingham: “Good football coach. He comes from good stock. His father was a fantastic coach. He does a nice job up there recruiting. They always play with toughness, that football team.”
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