Coming off of No. 20 Arizona State’s 24-17 win over Cal, head coach Herm Edwards talked to the media for his weekly press conference and here are our takeaways.
Get Down Jayden, Get Down
Herm Edwards doesn’t yell or scream, he’s a pretty calm guy. However, there is one thing that raises his voice: Jayden Daniels leaving the pocket. It’s not that Edwards doesn’t enjoy Daniels using his legs to gain valuable yards and first downs, he just worries about the possibility of losing his starting quarterback.
“That was our first conversation, but I think Jayden knows his skill level,” Edwards said. “He’s been this size all through high school. Now, the players he’s playing against now are much bigger and much faster, but he has a sense of where it’s at and what’s about to happen. He understands, and the conversation I have with every quarterback since I’ve been a coach, know when the journey is over....It’s not that the second guy can’t play, but you become entirely different. I think going forward, [Daniels] knows that and he can hear me screaming, too. I don’t raise my voice a whole lot until he leaves the pocket, and then I’m like coaching him. You might not hear me but I’m screaming as loud as I can scream.
“ ‘Get down as fast as you can,’ and he knows it, he knows. Sometimes he comes over and he starts laughing at me and he says, ‘Coach,’ and I say, ‘Did you hear me?’ He says, ‘I heard you,’ and I go, ‘OK.’ That’s the only time I scream, is when he leaves the pocket, and I’m looking down the field and guys are coming at him and it’s like, ‘Just get out of bounds, man, get out of bounds.’ Sometimes, when he’s running towards me, I’m waving to him like come on, come over here man, just be safe. Quarterback has to protect his throwing shoulder and his head. That’s what they’ve got to protect, that’s the most important thing because if you can’t play the next play, you can’t help the team.”
Dealing with Distractions Ahead
This upcoming Sunday HBO will begin filming the Arizona State portion of 24/7 College Football. And due to travel arrangements, after playing in Houston against the Texans this upcoming Sunday, the Atlanta Falcons will be using the Arizona State facilities to prepare for their game against the Arizona Cardinals the following week.
Edwards knows that television and having the next level players around can cloud the heads of the Sun Devils before a pivotal home matchup with the Washington State Cougars. This is what he had to say:
“I’ve been involved in these things before,” he said. “And I’ve said it, players (who) don’t talk, all of a sudden, they start talking because it’s television. They need to see their self on television. I’ve been with pro players that hadn’t talked in three years, and those guys showed up, all of a sudden, they had dances… so I just think to handle all that, for our staff too, these guys have never gone through that, our staff. It’s never happened here, to be quite honest. And then to have them hardly anywhere in college football, this is new. Pro football, this happened. I felt it. But it’s something you got to, you can’t get involved in all that stuff.
“Atlanta (Falcons) are coming, they play, obviously, the (Arizona) Cardinals, so they’re coming, they’re going to stay a week here and then they play on Sunday… And I told the players, ‘Hey, they’re practicing in the bubble, if you have any aspirations, go over there and watch how they practice. Watch how fast they do things. There’s not that many of them, there’s only about 50 of them, 50 guys that travel, so there’s not many. They’ll see that too. I think all those things help you as far as recruiting, those are all things that you can use in a proper way, and I think it helps us.”
On running back Eno Benjamin’s performance that earned him Mandrake of the Week
Benjamin helped carry the offense against a stout Cal defense with 100 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Edwards believed the way he ran helped power the entire team.
“Real physical, and he knew this game was similar to Michigan State,” Edwards said. “It was going to be a physical contest, especially up front. They got some good linebackers, they did a nice job. And obviously, he’s the ‘Mandrake’ now, three touchdowns against a crew like that, especially where he scored in the red zone when we would give him the ball.
“That’s always refreshing when you get your running back going, because when he can make an emphasis and run hard like that, it just kind of makes your team feel good. Like, watching a guy like that, and you’re watching him in the red zone, it’s just like, you like that stuff. And I think he had one of his better games going against a really stout defense on the road, and that’s a credit to him. And the offensive line as well, they did a nice job of blocking, but a lot of it was on his own. He made the second guy miss and lowered his shoulder a couple of times to get some extra yards.”