New start: Herm Edwards brings fresh energy to ASU spring football
Mar 14, 2018, 5:21 PM
(Screenshot from Sun Devil Source YouTube channel)
TEMPE, Ariz. — “It’s the first day. You can’t really judge much off the first day,” Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins said.
That didn’t keep anyone from wondering what an ASU spring football practice would look under new coach Herm Edwards.
There was music, including Edwards moving to Nelly’s “Ride Wit Me.” There was extra time for media and fans to watch. And there was a unique Edwards vibe.
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“He brings like a calm type of intensity,” junior N’Keal Harry said. “He doesn’t yell too much or I didn’t see that too much yelling today but when he needed to get on us and make sure we stay focused he did that.”
Edwards said, “this day couldn’t get here fast enough.”
“This is what I know, my whole life has been this …” he said. “I’ve always been involved in practices for over 30 years, as an athlete, as a coach, as a scout, that’s my world. When I walk on the field, that’s familiar to me, that’s something that I’m very comfortable participating in …. That’s the world I grew up in and when you walk away from it for a while, you miss it.”
The first practice under the new regime looked similar to what former coach Todd Graham ran last season, although fans and media were allowed to stay for the entire practice.
When asked why Edwards said it helps the players.
“Players like to perform, ” he said. “I mean performers perform, that’s what they are. I don’t mind fans being out there, I think it’s great. I just think it provides another part of what they’re going to witness when they play a game.
“And look, people worry that people are going to film it. Film what? Everyone has the same plays. They might call it something else but it’s all the same plays. Kidding me? Either you run the ball or throw the ball, what else you got on offense. Special teams, you kick the ball. Defense, you got to go tackle …. I don’t get that (secretive nature).”
Energy, intensity and a deep passion for the game are what Edwards said defines him and it appeared his players were feeding off it. During 7 vs. 7 drills, whenever the receiver didn’t catch the ball and it hit the ground, immediately defensive players hustled to grab it. At least twice, Edwards talked to one of his defensive backs about a play that was made.
Some players even did backflips during stretches and the energy level was high.
“I just think it’s ran more like a pro practice,” Wilkins said when asked if the vibe was different. “I think that’s what coach Herms has been trying to preach. He wants it to be very professional, get guys on and off the field. … I think the vibe is, I don’t want to say laid back cause we’re working, but I think we’re just out there trying to enjoy it and get better every day and know that once we cross that white line, it’s all business.”
Edwards said that players should “want that” from their coach. They agreed with him.
“You need people to be fired up to go to practice and if you ain’t fired up to go out to spring practice after you’ve been doing nothing but working out and no football, there’s something wrong,” Wilkins said.