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Arizona State’s ’24/7 College Football’ episode debuts on HBO

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards pauses while speaking at the Pac-12 Conference NCAA college football Media Day in Los Angeles, Wednesday, July 25, 2018. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

HBO’s 24/7 documentary series took its talents to Tempe, profiling the Arizona State Sun Devils football team.

With that came a behind-the-scenes look at Herm Edwards’ program and what has to be looked at as an invaluable resource for the university to get recruits’ eyes more on the program.

The program starts with Edwards giving his outlook on what football is and how it correlates with life. Well, to be fair, that’s what Edwards is almost always talking about.

“It’s what you’re willing to do to get ready to play the game,” he said. “You can’t cheat the game.

“If you don’t cheat the game, it all works out.”

From there, the journey of game week begins on the Sunday before the big matchup with Washington State.

Edwards talks more, freshman quarterback Jayden Daniels is introduced and Edwards’ daily routine is shown.

He will often sit in on position meetings, not even saying anything, unless, you know, he wants to say something.

“The players always see me,” Edwards said. “I wanna know how they feel.”

Monday arrives as an off-day, but not for Edwards and his coaching staff.

That’s where the likes of football analyst Kevin Mawae and recruiting director and linebackers coach Antonio Pierce are welcomed to the show.

With Mawae and Pierce’s success in the NFL, this is where Edwards goes into the team’s new leadership model and getting players ready for the pros.

“This is a program where you can be taught the way you’re going to be coached at the next level, but you gotta wanna do this,” Edwards said.

Pierce went over “the pro model,” how the university can help ASU players get ready for the league.

“Our evaluation process is no different than evaluating free agents,” Mawae said.

Then there’s Marvin Lewis, with the title of special advisor.

More on Lewis in a bit, but then the program went in-depth on Daniels, where Daniels mentions his ultimate goal of being in the NFL.

“Wake up, you got a camera following you man,” Edwards joked to Daniels.

Offensive coordinator Rob Likens was up, getting a certain spotlight this week because of the matchup with Mike Leach’s squad that would surely add up to high scores for both sides.

“Captain America” freshman quarterback/wide receiver Ethan Long earned a shout next, as well as Likens breaking down Daniels’ game on Tuesday.

“He can see the field like a guy that you’ve been coaching for two or three years,” Likens said of Daniels.

With that came a reminder of Daniels being a true freshman, going through some woes in practice.

At the 20-minute mark, we’re hit with a reminder that these are students, with Daniels being shown going to class and senior wideout Kyle Williams shadowing doctors and working on his thesis at the Mayo Clinic.

Tuesday’s poor practice was the subject on Wednesday, where a section of the show told the story of Pat Tillman.

Senior tight end Tommy Hudson plans to enter the military, like Tillman.

On Thursday, Edwards is getting his morning workout in.

In the best moments of the episode, junior wide receiver Frank Darby has his time with the cameras.

He jumps in on a player getting weighed, gets his weight, seems satisfied with the number and then yells to a teammate he walks by that, “I eat breakfast!”

“It’s HBO, man, they need to gimme a show on there, my show (will) go better than LeBron’s,” he proclaimed on the team bus.

Defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales and his family were up, then getting back to Lewis and his one-on-one meetings with Edwards breaking down tape. Lewis’ internal role was a bit of a mystery on his arrival, and the documentary certainly showed that he is an important part of Edwards’ week-to-week process.

The game before gameday on Friday had Edwards’ family arrive, with his wife and two daughters spending time around coach to get extra family time.

In a team meeting, “Candid Camera Friday” is a chance for Edwards to cut loose and show some bloopers from the week of practicing before a no-pad dress rehearsal of the gameplan.

Darby’s sweet tea routine with a frightening amount of added sweeteners was next and then the final night walkthrough, including a “keys to winning” slideshow at the hotel. Running back Eno Benjamin led the conclusion of the meeting, giving his own prep talk to the squad.

Saturday arrived with gameday and all the mic’d up goodies on the field and in the locker room. Among them was ASU quarterback and offensive assistant Mike Bercovici breaking down to Daniels some of the defenses the Cougars were showing.

Daniels’ game-winning drive capped the game and a win for Arizona State.

The episode ends with Edwards in his postgame press conference giving his thoughts on the cameras and him and his quarterback leaving the stadium after a big victory.

“I’m willing to bet on me, and that’s what I said when I took this job, I’ve been betting on me my whole life and I aint afraid to do that and I don’t care what anybody else says,” Edwards said in the last words of the episode.

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