Herm Edwards took to the podium for his weekly press conference. In his insight before Saturday’s game against No. 18 Michigan State, here is what stood out.
Lighting a fire in the offense
It’s no secret the Sun Devil offense has been slow to say the least the first two weeks. A formula of a true freshman quarterback, a shuffled offensive line and the departure of a first-round receiver N’Keal Harry will equate to that.
Through two weeks, Arizona State ranks 85th in points per game (24.5), 33rd in passing yards (294) and 94th in running yards per game (131). Less than ideal stats, thus creating Edwards’ point of how he believes Saturday’s game script will play out.
“This defense is pretty good,” Edwards said. “It really is. It doesn’t give you a lot of room, whether you’re running the football or throwing the football. And I think patience is going to be the key. Just like last year, it was not an offensive juggernaut game for either side. I don’t think it was kind of one of those type games. We were fortunate enough to make some plays in the red zone, we got some turnovers, we turned one over too, going the other way. And then we had the ball at the end. And we made a couple plays, and we were able to kick the field goal. That’s the kind of game it was. I mean, that was kind of game that I envisioned it to be when we played them.
“This game will be a little bit different because we’re on the road, you know, they’re going to have a packed crowd and, you know, be excited. And so we got to learn how to play on the road. And this is our first test with a lot of young guys. It’ll be interesting to see how they react, because we’ve been at home for the first two games, and now we got to go on the road.”
Who are the 2019 Sun Devils?
In his first season in Tempe, Edwards’ team went through quite the in-season change to its identity. The switch to a ground-and-pound offense helped the Sun Devils compete in every game last season.
As the Arizona State staff searches for consistency from its offensive line, they may have to make another mixup to their identity. Here is Edwards’ take on this season’s picture.
“I think right now thus far, defensively, we’ve done some things pretty good,” Edwards said. “We allowed 14 points in two games. I don’t know, if we can do that, we got a chance to be in every game, right? So, when I will see, you know, we play a different opponent. But you know, right now defensively, we’re doing some things pretty good. We got to get after the quarterback more.
Offensively, we’re trying to find our identity. We got a bunch of young guys, we’ve had a lot of things with the offensive line, as you guys know. That’s just the way it is right now, and not a lot of depth there, and the depth that is there is for our freshmen players. And we’re going to be forced to play some of those guys. And with that, then you got to figure out, what do you want to become? We’re not the same offense we were last year, for sure, for certain reasons, and I’m not gonna get into that, which is not. And I just think, you always have this mindset of what you want to be until you start playing, and then you evaluate and you assess what you have. And you say, ‘OK, the most important thing is allowing the players to have success, and not let our egos get in our way of saying, ‘I want to do this,’ when you’re putting players in a position where they’re not comfortable. So I think as we assess that, we’ll find out more about our offense.”
The offensive line
A big part for the struggles of the offense has been the offensive line. Facing against a strong defensive front, Edwards talked about the matchup in the trenches.
“Yeah, and there’s ways you can help it, too. So I think we have to be smart enough to realize that to what we’re trying to do, schematically. You know, can those players do that? And who is the opponent? You’re playing a big, physical football team up front with seven veteran guys that have played defense. And they play in a conference where they play everything contested. Everything is contested, every yard, every pass. They’re a heavy-handed team, you know, they play heavy football, they’re athletic and they play heavy. And so you got to realize that when you play them, you got to ask yourself, ‘What can we do to use our athleticism at certain positions to try to counter that?’ And that’s the greatness about football, you know, there’s all these moving parts, and then you have to come up with a game plan that allow your players to have success.”