Herm Edwards often discusses the peaks and valleys of a long football season. Arizona State’s 2021 campaign has perfectly embodied this sentiment, with huge morale building wins being followed by apocalypse inducing losses. The most recent episode has featured the former. Wins against USC and at Washington have seemingly righted the ship, and Herm Edwards was quick to heap the praise on his team during his weekly press conference Monday afternoon.
“If you know the players, and how this journey has gone along, nothing surprises me,” Edwards said. “You’re gonna hit some lows, and how you come out of those is a testament of a team that believes in each other.”
With just two games remaining, the finish line of the tumultuous journey is in sight. A tough road game in Corvallis, Oregon awaits the Sun Devils this weekend, and a bowl eligible Beavers team is no slouch.
“Oregon State is a much improved football team, they’re bowl eligible, you can see they’ve changed a little bit. This is one of the toughest offenses we’ll face,” Edwards said. “They give you a lot of eye candy and if you’re not in your right proper gap they can hurt you. They’re capable of hitting the big pass plays. Their defense is one that has taken the ball away. They’re an exciting football team, well coached. We’re excited for the opportunity.”
While they may be excited for the opportunity, the Sun Devils surely wish they were hosting Oregon State, instead of playing a late night November road game in Corvallis for the third straight season. Edwards touched briefly on home field advantage, discussing the final seconds of Saturday’s win at Washington. With three seconds remaining, Washington somehow executed and recovered an onside kick with one second remaining on the clock. The subsequent hail mary/ lateral desperation play was unsuccessful, but the fact that the snap even happened was enough to give ASU fans a heart attack.
“We made it interesting, we made it very interesting. That’s the longest three seconds I’ve ever seen. It’s good to play at home, I’ll leave it at that.”
The unquestioned star of the last two weeks has been running back Rachaad White. Lead stallion in a stable that features three impressive backs, White has separated himself from the pack, and is almost single handedly carrying the Arizona State offense. His production has been jaw-dropping, but his 32 rush attempts are too many, and risk of a one dimensional attack is something Edwards wants to stay away from.
“Obviously we’ve gotta make more explosive plays in the passing game, that’s part of it,” he said. “Number 3 is running real hot right now, he’s making a lot of plays in the running game and in the passing game. We have capable players at receiver, and Jayden has done a nice job running the ball as well. We definitely need to make some plays in the passing game. We have to do that.”
Often tight-lipped on injury specifics, Edwards gave us next to nothing on that front Monday afternoon. A number of key players have been banged up lately, but because “Oregon State is listening to this” Edwards didn’t provide an update.
Saturday night’s game kicks off at 7 pm local time (8 pm AZ time)