What do Dirk Koetter, Todd Graham, and Dennis Erickson have in common?
All were coaches who were supposed to lift the Sun Devils back to national relevance, and break the circle of mediocrity that ASU has seemingly been stuck in since they boarded their flight back to Tempe from Pasadena in 1996.
None of those coaches did anything except dig a once proud football program further into the sinkhole it was already in, but in 2018 Herm Edwards was brought in.
Edwards carried himself like a winner. A proven veteran of the oldest form of organized war in the modern sports world. Having gone to battle as a soldier, and strategizing for troops in the past, Edwards seemed like the perfect mix of toughness and leadership to revive a dormant program. Edwards proven track record of winning would aid that argument right?
The caveat is Edwards wasn’t a winner in the NFL. He’s compiled a 22-16 record at ASU, and went 54-74 as the head coach of the New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs. Herm isn’t a good football coach, he’s just good at talking.
Edwards is a phenomenal personality. He’s good at talking a big game, and writing checks that can’t be cashed. Since his first year in Tempe, the Devils have made the same mistakes. Bad penalties, confusion on the field, and now drama off the field.
With the ongoing NCAA investigation, the clueless, sloppy play, and the run of the mill coach talk that Edwards has produced, let’s get into the good bad and ugly.
The Good - Washington State
I’m not going to get into it too much, but the better Jayden (de Laura), and the Cougars defense made the Sun Devils look like a little brother trying to fight with their big brothers. Hats off to the Cougars, in the aftermath of a strange situation involving former head coach Mike Rolovich that led to his dismissal, the men from Pullman came to town and played excellent complimentary football. They battled, won the war of field position, and got a win.
The Bad - Jayden Daniels decision making
The lesser Jayden, Daniels struggles are a complexity. His coaching staff treats him like an energetic puppy and has put an imaginary shock collar on him. Throw the ball downfield? *Shock. Let the kid use his physical skills? *Shock.
Daniels is not completely absolved. His decision making remains suspect, and he doesn’t have the best support system around him. But great quarterbacks lift their teams up, and every week it seems that ASU is tripping on its own feet or relying on their opponent to slip up.
I think the correct answer to figuring out Daniels issue is this; he’s nothing special. He’s a great athlete with limitations when it comes to processing the game, his coaching staff isn’t very good (not surprising when Edwards just hires his friends and convinces Ray Anderson that it’s a good coaching staff), and his receivers aren’t great. Mix all that together, and you get Jayden Daniels. The lesser Jayden.
The Ugly - Everything about ASU football
Twenty minutes before the Devils kicked off on Saturday, you could count the amount of fans in the stands in 10 minutes. It looked ASU fans were more interested in doing anything else than go and watch the football team on Saturday and it looked like there were less than 500 people in Sun Devil Stadium. ASU’s game day atmosphere isn’t great, and Saturday proved that they don’t garner interest to begin with.
The actual game
It was horrible. The coaching was horrible. The atmosphere was horrible. The Devils looked dead from the first snap (Chip Trayanum fumbled on the first play so yea), and didn’t even try to win. Down 28-7, with a fourth and two from the Wazzu 48, Herm Edwards put his coaching hat on and in the spirit of Halloween did his best impersonation of 2017 Mike McCarthy and PUNTED. PUNTING?
I guess winning the war of field position is more important than trying to win the actual game.
Nobody should care about this team, they don’t give anyone a reason too.