Preview 2018: Previewing and looking ahead to the Arizona State Sun Devils season with what you need to know.
Preview 2018: Arizona State Sun Devils
– What You Need To Know: Offense | Defense
– Top Players, Key Game, Fun Stats
– What Will Happen & Win Total Prediction
– Recruiting Class Analysis | Schedule Analysis
– Arizona State Previews 2017 | 2016 | 2015
In 2000, USC hired a new head coach that no one seemed all that interested in.
Pete Carroll hadn’t been around a college campus in 17 seasons, didn’t exactly rock it as a pro head man, and was way down the list of top options to take over the gig.
But he was energetic, a motivational force of will, and in the end, the outside-the-box choice turned into one of the better hires in the history of modern college football.
No, Arizona State isn’t USC, and it’s asking a whole lot for Herm Edwards to be the next Carroll as a college coach, but sometimes, going against the grain works.
And sometimes, your arch-rival gets Kevin Sumlin, and another key program in your division gets Chip Kelly, and you’ve got the 64-year-old guy who hadn’t coached in a decade, and hadn’t been a part of a college program in close to 30 years.
Of course there are several parts to the hire that don’t make sense.
Billy Napier is considered a rising star in the coaching world, but the young former ASU assistant took over the Louisiana head coaching gig after not being promoted up.
Would Sun Devil fans have been upset with Sumlin? How about if the program made a push for, say, Purdue’s Jeff Brohm, Virginia Tech’s Justin Fuente, or Iowa State’s Matt Campbell?
Age matters. Edwards will be 68 or 69 by the time his first recruiting class cycles through – it’s not like there’s a whole lot of time for a rebuild.
Experience matters. Edwards is phenomenal at giving a great speech, and he’s got the type of enthusiasm, integrity and impeccable character you want running your program. But he did go 6-26 in his last two years with the Kansas City Chiefs, and he has been out of the game for a long, long time.
But he’s going to bring attention to a program that hasn’t created to much national noise over the last few years. Edwards will create buzz right away, but he might not have the team to perform miracles.
The passing game will be terrific as long as Manny Wilkins gets time to throw to the amazing receiving corps. The offensive line is experienced, but it needs to be better in pass protection. And here has to be some semblance of a running game, even if the backs aren’t in place to do much right away.
Almost all of the key parts are gone on defense, but the group that was so great at getting to the quarterback has a few promising options, and the secondary that struggled so much at least returns experienced.
And then there’s the motivational factor from having Edwards around.
No one will think ASU can do much of anything, and no one will pick it to finish anywhere near the top two of the Pac-12 South. So while there might be pressure for the hire to work – or at least look okay – in relative, there are no real expectations. Go bowling, and the season is a success.
As the man said, you play to win the game. Arizona State hopes it did just that with its head coach.