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ASU Sun Devils coach Herm Edwards has a ‘great staff of men’

Nov 12, 2018, 12:46 PM | Updated: 2:50 pm

ASU head coach Herm Edwards isn't looking too far into the future after the 38-20 win over Utah. (B...

ASU head coach Herm Edwards isn't looking too far into the future after the 38-20 win over Utah. (Bella Sisneros)

(Bella Sisneros)

Arizona State football’s Herm Edwards is in his first year as a college football head coach, but he has the experience around him to help lead his team to a chance to control its own destiny to win the Pac-12 South and compete for a conference championship.

His coaching staff features former college head coaches and coordinators as well as years of NFL experience. Edwards played 12 years in the NFL as a defensive back out of San Diego State before coaching on the college level at San Jose State and the pros for the Kansas City Chiefs, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New York Jets.

“I’ve got a great staff of men,” Edwards told Doug & Wolf on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Monday. “And that was important — to get good men. The man overtakes the coaching. Doing the right thing by the players, that’s important to me.”

ASU’s first-year offensive line coach Dave Christensen served as the head coach at Wyoming from 2009-13 and has more than 35 years of coaching experience.

Wide receivers coach Charlie Fisher was the head coach at Western Illinois before joining the Sun Devils staff. He led to the team to an 8-4 record in 2017 and 14-9 over his tenure for the FCS program.

Tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator Donnie Yantis is an Arizona native who served as the first head coach of Arizona Christian University of the NAIA for two seasons.

“I knew who I was getting involved with and I knew they had experience because some of the things they know, they’ve gone through. I have not,” Edwards said of his staff.

The Sun Devils started 3-4 before winning three consecutive games trailing Utah (7-3 overall, 5-3 Pac-12) by a game for first place in the Pac-12 South, making them bowl eligible in year one of Edwards and his staff.

Last week, Edwards said the Sun Devils’ game against UCLA would be the toughest. Saturday’s critical game in Eugene against the Oregon Ducks (6-4 overall, 3-4 Pac-12) could be even tougher as ASU is currently 1-3 on the road.

If ASU beats Oregon, Utah loses its last conference game at Colorado (5-5 overall, 2-5 Pac-12) and Arizona (5-5 overall, 4-3 Pac-12) loses at eighth-ranked Washington State on Saturday, the Devils will clinch the division title and win the tiebreaker before they play the Arizona Wildcats in the Territorial Cup on Nov. 24. Utah’s last game will be at home against BYU, also on Nov. 24.

The Sun Devils last won the Pac-12 South title in 2013 under Todd Graham in his second season as the head coach. The team lost to Stanford that year in the Pac-12 Championship game, missing out on a Rose Bowl appearance.

Assistant head coach and running backs coach John Simon is the second-longest tenured coach at ASU in his fourth season. Sophomore Eno Benjamin leads the Pac-12 in rushing yards (1295) and touchdowns (12) and broke the school’s single-season rushing record in Pac-10/12 history on Saturday against UCLA.

Edwards and his coaching staff are still learning from each other in their first year as a new group for the Sun Devils as they approach the end of the season.

“I’m a person that’s always seeking knowledge,” Edwards said.

“I visit with every coach, every day individually and I just pick their brains on certain things. I want to make sure I’ve got a lot of information.”

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