Herm Edwards hopped up from his seat behind the podium like a spring chicken. He whistled a happy tune on his way back towards his office, and left the media with a nice closing message.
“You folks be well!”
It’s not that Edwards is ever anything less than courteous and polite with media, it’s that he was in an obvious great mood on this Monday afternoon. You would be too, if your team was 5-1 and playing its best football while the rest of the conference seems to be slowly crumbling.
“Any time you can win a Pac-12 game, whether it’s on the road or at home, it’s a good thing. It’s very difficult to win in this conference. Every game is so important, there’s not one greater than another one. Do you know how hard it is to win a game? It’s real hard. Be happy when you win one.”
On the Utes
“It’s another Pac-12 game, and anything can happen. We play a tough opponent in Utah, they haven’t lost any conference games in the south. They’re kind of sitting like we’re sitting right now. They have some really good running backs, big powerful guys. Their quarterback is a spark, and their defense is very stingy with points. It’s a tough place to play.”
The Resilient Defensive Line
Injuries haven’t been a huge issue for Arizona State in 2021, outside of perhaps one position group. The defensive line, vital to any team’s success, has been banged up all year, highlighted by season ending injuries to Jermayne Lole and Travez Moore. Despite this, the group has persevered and remained one of the conference’s most formidable.
“Coach (Rich Rodriguez) has done a nice job coaching those guys up, a real nice job, and the more they play the more confident they get,” Edwards said. “There are a number of guys I approach before games, and I went up to Tyler (Johnson) on Friday. We needed him to play well for us this week, and he did a nice job. A really nice job.”
And that he did. Johnson was named the Walter Camp National Defensive Player of the Week for his dominant performance against Stanford.
It’s Personal.. For the coach
We’re still seven weeks away from the Territorial Cup game between ASU and Arizona, but for a former Cal Bear like Herm Edwards, seeing the Cardinal red of Stanford ignites that rivalry passion.
“It is a big rivalry, and that big game is quite unique. Same deal here with Arizona. I played in two of those games against Stanford, and got an interception in both. It’s a lot of fun playing rivalry games in college football because it goes back generations and generations.”
Tight lipped on the injury front as usual, Edwards simply said he hopes Chase Lucas, Evan Fields and Michael Matus are available for Saturday’s game.
There it is… Go get it
“If you know me by now it’s not about my expectations. It’s their team. It’s their expectations. This belongs to the players, and what they want to accomplish. I’m on the journey for them. I can give them a road map, but they gotta go drive the car. I’ve never seen a coach play. This group of guys, I know what their mentality is. They’re sitting in a position to do whatever they want to accomplish.”