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ASU concludes spring football with more questions than answers

(Twitter photo/@FootballASU)

TEMPE, Ariz. — The Arizona State spring football game is not conducive to grand conclusions. The mini-hurricane that blew through Tempe on Friday night ensured that fact.

“I thought I was back in Kansas,” Sun Devils first-year coach Herm Edwards quipped. “I was looking for Toto.”

With the ball sailing, injured running back Eno Benjamin carrying a walking cane instead of a ball, and parts of the potential lineup watching from the sidelines before they enroll this fall, Edwards and quarterback Manny Wilkins spoke more in generalizations than in specifics as spring practice came to a close at the Sun Devil soccer stadium.

“Overall, I’m really, really, really proud of this team, how serious they took this spring,” Wilkins said. “You could tell guys wanted it. It’s a good stepping-stone for us going into summer.

“We laid the right foundation down; no cracks in the foundation. This summer, it’s just about starting to build that house and when you get to season that house will be built and we’ll be ready to roll.”

It’s too early to tell if a ground game that has struggled this spring will find its rhythm when Stanford transfer left tackle Casey Tucker arrives and Benjamin teams with Trelon Smith in the backfield.

It’s too soon to know if Dillon Sterling-Cole can unseat Blake Barnett as the backup quarterback.

It’s too soon to know whether Terrell Chatman, Ryan Jenkins or Frank Darby will emerge as the No. 3 receiver alongside N’Keal Harry and Kyle Williams, even if Darby turned in the highlight of the night on a long TD catch from Sterling-Cole on which Darby made a nice adjustment to the ball.

It’s too soon to know if a healthy Chase Lucas, converted receiver Jalen Harvey and emerging sophomores Evan Fields and Langston Frederick can solve the annual struggles of the secondary.

It’s too soon to know if Nick Ralston’s return to his natural linebacker spot and the arrival of heralded recruit Merlin Robertson will solidify this unit.

It’s too soon to know if a defense that has looked tentative in Danny Gonzales’ new scheme will bring the fire that defined Gonzales’ units at San Diego State.

It’s too soon to know if this unorthodox Edwards hiring will work.

“I kind of know where we’re at,” Edwards said. “I’ve been around football enough that my eyes don’t lie.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do still — 141 days until our first game, so basically 25 practices. We tried to accomplish a mindset in what we want to become. We’re going to have 21 new players in here. A couple of them were here tonight. They’re going to help us.”

More than anything, Edwards said this spring was about building relationships and establishing trust.

“When you change coaches there is always an adjustment period,” he said. “They need to know what I’m about, I need to know what they’re about and I think we’ve grown together now.”

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