Following the loss to USC, head coach Herm Edwards talked to the media on Monday to discuss a variety of items.
On the status of quarterback Jayden Daniels:
Last week there was a bit of a suprise when Joey Yellen started at quarterback for the Sun Devils. Jayden Daniels did not play due to a knee injury suffered against UCLA that he played through in that game. Offensive coordinator Rob Likens believed after the USC game that Daniels would be open to suit up. Here is Edwards’ take on it.
“I’m hoping he can get through practices. Last week he practiced a little bit but couldn’t quite get through it so we’ll see this week where he’s at. Hopefully, he can make it through practice and if he can that’s a good sign for us. That will mean he can have an opportunity to play.”
On an improved Oregon State team:
The Beavers are no longer in the pits of the Pac-12. They are not a powerhouse by any means, but head coach Jonathan Smith already has three Pac-12 wins thus far which is the most by Oregon State since 2016.
“Oregon State, a team that has vastly improved from last year. Now if you remember last year’s game, it was kind of interesting. 52-24 score really doesn’t say what happened in this football game. Reflecting on it, they rushed the ball 53 times for 261 yards. We rushed it 48 times for 326 yards. I think some times we forget about all of that. They had a day of running the football and we had a day of running the football. Only 24 by them and 25 from us. We were just able to get some stops. We didn’t turn the ball over and they had one turnover. We only had one penalty. We played a pretty clean game but they were able to run the football. They ran it very well on us so, when you watch them on tape, they’re very balanced.
“Good offense. Smith does a great job with calling plays. We better be prepared for that. Defensively, they’ve improved some. They played Washington pretty tough to be quite honest. They did a nice job of slowing that offense down and it was one of those games. We know we’re going to have our work cut out for us.”
Adding players through the portal:
Edwards has always mentioned that the transfer portal is college football’s free agents. And with a lot of inexperience on the offensive line coming next year and still needing more pass rushers, Edwards made it clear he’s searching for a few free agents.
“Last year was different. When I came in, I said we’ve got to get an offensive line. We have to, going forward, we’re looking for some older players because the guys we’re bringing in, we’re bringing in more freshmen offensive linemen but they’re freshmen. We need some guys that have played. So here we go, [transfer portal] or grad transfers. Are we looking for guys? We’re looking for guys. I’ll say it right now. We’re looking for guys. Because what we have is a bunch of young guys. We have freshmen right now that are not playing but they haven’t played either. It’s not like we have this abundance of offensive linemen. I said it on the field during the game to some reporter who asked me, ‘You have no pass rush?’ I’m looking for a pass rusher too. Yeah, if you find one send them here. I ain’t kidding. You guys watch us play. Danny is doing everything he can to generate a rush but you need a guy because the whole defense changes with one guy.
“I watched the Vikings, I mean Lynch is a good friend of mine. I look at his defensive line, all first-round picks. When you can rush four guys and make the quarterback go ‘whoa’ it’s a difference playing defense. I’m not making excuses. I’m just telling you where we’re at. And they don’t just appear, you don’t just find them. Everybody wants these same guys. We’re all recruiting the same kind of guys. But we’ve got to get a couple of those guys because then you’re different. You look at the teams we’ve played, look at Utah. They rush four guys and the quarterback is like, ‘I’ve got to get the ball out because they’re coming.’ I’ve watched Washington too, they’ve got some guys. And that’s what you’ve got to have at any level, you’ve got to have guys that can affect the quarterback. We’ve got to find some guys like that and we will.”
Stopping the Arizona State versus Arizona State:
The issues within the Sun Devils have been their own demise this season; penalties, dropped balls, missed assignments, bad starts, the list goes on. Edwards wants it to stop and he went very in depth on the issue.
“I talked to our team a lot about just not self-destructing and getting behind early. When you look at the four games that we have lost, the score in the first quarter has been 56-14. We haven’t scored a lot of points in the first quarter. We were down to USC 28-7 (in the first quarter). We were down to UCLA 14-7. When we played Colorado it was 14-0. Utah was 0-0 but the total amount of scores is, I believe, 57-14 or something like that. We’ve gotten down early in some games and we’ve had to fight our way back. Those are the four that we’ve lost so far. It was just the same pattern. That and really self-destructing. I said it after the game and now that more that I look at it, it holds true. The Sun Devils are beating the Sun Devils. We had (nine) fouls in that game that extends drives and continues drives. Five dropped passes and some of them were critical in big moments. Three turnovers that kill drives. We had some missed kicks. We had a missed extra point. We kicked one out of bounds and so I think we’ve got to get back to the details and focus on our jobs and do it better. If we do that, we’ll have a chance to win a football game.
“I don’t know if it’s effort or gameplan or not, I just think it’s a lack of focus at times. We didn’t change the gameplan after the first quarter. It was like, ‘I have this game plan in.’ I’m scratching my head and I said, ‘Did we do something wrong here?’ And then they get three points. It was the same offense and the same players. They got three points [after the first quarter] and I’m like, ‘Well, what happened in the first quarter?’ It wasn’t the game plan so much. When you play Cover 2, that’s about as basic as it gets. It’s like two deep. It’s like, ‘OK, just don’t give up deep balls.’ We might have set a college record. We gave up a 95-yard pass versus Cover 2. I’m like, ‘That’s Cover 2! You stay deepest as the deepest.’ We got a guy running right down the middle and I’m going, ‘OK, intercept the ball, no, it’s a touchdown.’ I don’t know. I can’t figure that one out. When you’re supposed to [cover] the running back and he goes out to the flat, go cover the running back. That’s your cat. You’re looking at him and then he starts running out there and you start looking at the quarterback, well you’re supposed to cover this guy and the quarterback, you don’t cover the quarterback. You cover that guy.”