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Herm Edwards: Some ASU scholarship players may not be with team in fall

Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards talks during an interview with The Doug & Wolf Show on 98.7 FM Arizona's Sports Station on Tuesday, Feb. 13, 2018. (Matt Layman/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards made a surprising threat to his team on Tuesday. He told them that some of them might not be a part of the team this fall, even if they are under scholarship.

“They’re not going to lose their scholarship,” Edwards said. “We’re not taking scholarships. Those scholarships are good. They just might not participate as an athlete any more. They might just become students.”

Edwards said he delivered the message at a team meeting on Tuesday to underscore that some players are not living up to expectations with less than two weeks left in spring practice.

“The message was very clear that we’re in the process of evaluating players,” Edwards said. “Between now and next week, you’re going to find out the situation here and whether you continue to be part of it or not. I told them that when I first took the job and that’s the way to be honest with guys. It’s always evaluation. It’s always participation. It’s always autograph your performance; that is your resume when you practice.

“I told some guys ‘if you continue to stay hurt, stay in the training room, you’ve got no tape and we can’t grade you if you’re not on tape. We can’t grade you in the training room.’ All of the sudden, some guys got well. It’s amazing.

“College football is one of those unique sports in the fact that you give out 85 scholarships and I think sometimes these players just think ‘well there’s 85 scholarships, I’m good.’ No, you’re not good. You’ve earned a scholarship because of your ability to be a student-athlete. You’ve got to make sure you handle that part of the assignment, being the student part and then being the athlete part. It’s a combination of both. When you don’t meet that standard there are consequences. Consequences are sometimes tough but I think it’s a learning process for a lot of these guys. If I don’t apply those consequences then I’m not doing my job as a head coach.”

Such a move would be surprising, given the annual 25-scholarship limit per signing class that programs face. If Edwards were to cut players yet keep them on scholarship, he would have a hard time replacing them, he wouldn’t have those players developing and he wouldn’t have as much depth in case of injuries.

Even so, quarterback Manny Wilkins said Edwards’ stance is more than a threat; it’s a promise.

“It ain’t might. He’s going to cut some people,” Wilkins said. “He’s going to follow through. Don’t worry about that. He’s about his business so when he says something he’s going to do it.”

Wilkins called it another example of the NFL mentality Edwards is trying to instill in the program.

“It’s professionalism at its finest,” Wilkins said. “Somebody’s going to be shocked when they walk in here and their locker is cleaned out. It’s going to be a rude awakening when they go from student-athlete to student. I think that’s how it has to be. There’s got to be competition at every single point, no matter what situation that we’re in. When there’s no competition is when people get stagnant and being complacent is when things start going bad.”

Wilkins believes the team received the message loud and clear.

“We’ve only got five [spring] practices left,” he said. “I’ll bet you’ll see a difference in some guys when they’re out there now in their attitude and how they’re acting because we want to keep everybody, we want everybody to have an opportunity, but if you ain’t understanding and working how he wants you to work, sayonara.”

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