For bowl-eligible Sun Devils, fun is part of the formula

Nov 12, 2018, 3:54 PM

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)...

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

(AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

TEMPE, Ariz. — Herm Edwards is far from boring.

The first-year head coach of Arizona State football had a lengthy career in television before he got to Tempe. And before that, during his days as the head coach of the New York Jets, his claim that “you play to win the game” became a famous press conference moment.

And in 2018, in meeting with the media regularly, he still has moments where he turns a room full of serious, inquisitive reports into a room full of chuckling audience members.

Maybe it’s a good thing that he carries that quality.

“One of my daughters is excited about going up there [to Oregon] because she likes the mascot,” Edwards said Monday when asked about the challenges of playing in the cold weather. “She likes the duck. I told her, I said, ‘Now you’re not pulling for the duck, are you?’ She says, ‘No, daddy, I don’t pull for the duck, but I like the duck.’ I said ‘OK.’

“What do you tell a 12-year-old?”

It’s understandable that when Edwards was asked about what has gone right for the Sun Devils to have the success they’ve had — having just won their third straight game — that having fun was among the things he listed. Of course, there’s more to it than that, as he said: “Hiring a good coaching staff,” “earning the players’ trust,” “being consistent,” and “allowing players to have their own personalities” were all things he listed.

But he made sure not to leave one out:

“Having fun. You’ve got to have fun doing this. You really do,” Edwards said. “It’s too many hours if you’re not having any fun.”

It’s all part of why ASU has achieved bowl eligibility with two games left to play in their season, having reached the six-game mark in Edwards’ first year on campus. The Sun Devils have also won three straight, and if they win their remaining two games, plus the Pac-12 Championship game and their bowl game, they would have 10 wins.

“I think it’s good to [reach a bowl game] because of all the good will it brings you, and the players are excited about it,” Edwards said. “If you’re a senior, let’s say a walk-on kid. You’re going to a bowl game, man. That’s pretty neat.

“And when you’re 30 years old, 40 years old, and you sit around with your family and your kids, ‘Oh yeah, I played in that bowl.’ Whatever — and it will probably be a different name for it, but — you played in the bowl. They always change these names, I get that part. But it’s just fun. I think it’s fun, that you say you’re bowl eligible.”

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For bowl-eligible Sun Devils, fun is part of the formula