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Monday Mailbag: Women’s basketball question marks, softball, spring football and more

We are back for Monday Mailbag number two. Some questions have been edited for clarity. Limited to two questions per user. Overflow questions may go into next week’s edition.

Who are the rumored candidates to become the next coach of women’s basketball? - rwperu34

WEIPZ: Right now, I have not seen any clear cut names in the mix. What I am hearing is that the new head coach will probably not be a promotion from within the current staff. Later this week, we will be posting some potential names to keep an eye on, but it sounds like the school wants to do an all-out nationwide search for the next coach and they are trying to make a big-name hire.

ASU women’s basketball recruit Meg Newman was out/injured before the start of the season. What’s her status for next year, is she coming back with Charli Turner Thorne leaving? - ArizonaSon

RW: Meg Newman was a top-35 recruit in the country and the sixth-ranked forward according to ESPN. She suffered a torn ACL shortly before her freshman season began, and was active and engaged with team this past season despite not playing a minute. She also appeared to be moving better as the year went on. It is hard to judge if she will be back or not based on the fact that ASU is yet to hire a replacement for Charli Turner Thorne. My guess is most players will wait for the new hire before opting to stay or enter the transfer portal, especially if the new head coach retains members of the current staff.

What are the chances ASU lands Emory Jones from the transfer portal? What are some other position groups ASU should be looking to supplement from the portal? - DevilForce1

REDFERN: The big takeaway from the last week surrounding QB1 is that it may not be Paul Tyson vs. Trenton Bourguet as we had previously thought. Herm Edwards has leveraged the transfer portal for most positional needs this offseason, and hinted again last week that ASU is monitoring the portal for another quarterback transfer.

Fittingly so, Pete Thamel from ESPN reported on Friday that dual-threat quarterback Emory Jones from Florida entered the transfer portal, and multiple coaches from ASU followed Jones on social media in the wake of that decision.

The former four-star recruit would bring a skill set that is currently absent in the quarterback room, and he would immediately step on campus as the favorite to start in September.

Now, to actually answer the question, the chances they land Jones through the portal should be high. Thamel’s report said that the other schools to express interest were North Texas, Akron, Rice, and Arkansas State. If that’s the case, Herm will be organizing a pitch. I’m sure there are power-five schools working behind the scenes as well given his prospect-level status, but he only holds two more years of college eligibility. He will go somewhere where he feels he can start immediately.

Could it be Tempe? I’m sure ASU will end up a favorite. In the meantime, Bourguet and Tyson are splitting time with the ones.

In terms of other positions in need of upgrades, I believe the talent lost to the portal at receiver has still not been recouped. Depth remains thin, with question marks after Ricky Pearsall and L.V. Bunkley-Shelton. The portal is currently pretty picked over, with other Pac-12 schools like USC and Arizona scoring big time. I still wouldn’t be surprised if Herm landed another weapon. I am also a believer that you can never have enough depth at offensive line.

What’s the atmosphere around spring practice like? Is there still a good energy and sense of optimism amongst the players? - TNSunDevil

KR: We’ll have a write-up Wednesday from spring ball. The reports from practice and tweets from players are all talking about an enhanced sense of camaraderie on the field and in the weightroom. I like to take these words with a grain of salt. What else are they going to say?

I remember when Jayden Daniels hit the portal, there was a video that went viral of some teammates cleaning out his locker. Within hours we were hearing that the situation led to one of the best lifts of the offseason, and the video did not reflect the views/actions of the majority of the program. That’s great, but how often do we hear this? The team is close. It’s college football. So what? That is how it should be.

If you can’t tell, the sports-camaraderie cliches bug me.

Kevin Redfern, where are you from and why did you choose to come to ASU? - Zoon P

KR: I’m from the northern suburbs of Chicago. My story is fairly on par with most midwesterners who make the trek to Chicago Southwest. Thankful to have crossed paths with Ricky, who introduced me to Brady Vernon (fearless leader). Wouldn’t be here without them.

Are coaches out recruiting or are they still sidelined by the administration? - Troll Slayer

KR: If this is referring to the trio of coaches who were placed on administrative leave last season, they are no longer with the program. Receivers coach Prentice Gill and defensive backs coach Chris Hawkins were fired, and tight ends coach Adam Breneman resigned. The coaches – old and new and of all sports – are on the recruiting trail doing their thing in person and on social media.

What happened to Allison Royalty? She was our go-to pitcher last year, got injured and decided to miss/skip the postseason. Now she’s really struggling. Is there an explanation? - ArizonaSon

KR: Allison Royalty’s regression this season has been one of the sore marks on a successful ongoing ASU softball season. Like you mentioned, it appears Royalty has not been able to get back to 100 percent and her All-Pac-12 self from her freshman season.

Also, this pitching staff is much deeper than it was a year ago. It’s now been over a week without an appearance from Royalty, and in that time we have seen dominant performances from Mac Morgan and Marissa Schuld. For now, Morgan plays the role of freshman-ace that Royalty did last season.

At under two runs allowed per seven innings (1.96), the rotation is rock solid, even with Royalty taking a step back. If we see a fraction of her consistency and durability from the middle portion of last season, watch out for the Devils.