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Herm Edwards on NCAA rule change, ASU football’s bye week

Head coach Herm Edwards enters the field prior to a game against the UCLA Bruins on October 26, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

TEMPE, Ariz. — At first, ASU football head coach Herm Edwards was reluctant to comment at all on the news that the NCAA took the first steps toward allowing athletes to profit off of their likeness.

“I don’t know the rules and stipulations of what’s going to happen there,” he said. “For me to comment on that, I always tell players the same thing, until you have enough information to make a comment, don’t make one.”

He never did comment specifically on Tuesday’s news, citing his lack of intimate knowledge about the latest facts and details. But he did offer one comment: Do right by the sport.

“I know this: Whatever you do in sports at any level, if it helps the sport, then you need to do it. But I don’t know what all the rules are. I don’t. I have no idea. I’m not going to sit here and say I do. But whatever it does, as long as it helps the sport and everybody can benefit from it, then you do the right thing for the sport.

“We always say, as adults, we get to make the decisions. Right? So make an adult decision, look at the long-term of sports, and say, ‘Is this the best way to go?’ And if it is, then make some rules and some sanctions that say, ‘These are the standards. These are the rules we’ve all got to live by.”

Edwards said he hasn’t heard players discussing the NCAA’s rule on profiting off of one’s likeness, a behavior currently prohibited in the college amateur model. But he did speculate that players likely discuss it among themselves, and acknowledged that the issue has been a topic of conversation within college sports as a whole.

“It’s all evolved. I mean pro football, for God sakes, those guys used to have second jobs. Right?” Edwards said. “So it’s all evolved. And you can’t go hide in the corner and say, ‘It’s the good old-,’ it’s not the good old days. It evolves, man. We all evolve as a society. It’s part of it. And if you don’t do that, then you’re hurting the game.

“I always say, just do what’s right. Cause right’s always right. Right is going to be right until eternity. And that’s all we’ve got to do. Just do the right thing. Those guys will figure it out. I’m just trying to figure out how to beat USC and win a football game.”

BYE WEEK: JUST IN TIME

If the bye week is an opportunity for ASU to regroup after back-to-back losses, including a particularly disappointing one against UCLA, then ASU’s bye is coming at a perfect time.

The Sun Devils lost to a Bruins team that started its season 1-5 this year. Yes, UCLA had a tough non-conference schedule — including a game against Oklahoma — but ASU was ranked as high as No. 17 in the nation this season and now finds itself out of the Top 25.

One could understand a 5-1 ASU team losing to Utah, which is currently ranked in the top 10. The loss at UCLA was a tougher pill to swallow and a failed attempt at a bounce-back.

“When you have a young team like this, there’s a lot of energy when you’re 5-1. It just goes along with the territory when you’re 5-1. When you’re 5-3, you’ve lost two games in a row, that’s not a lot of fun. How do you deal with that? How do you deal with losing? Obviously, it’s got to hurt you in the belly. And you’ve got to find a way to win another game.”

Up next is USC on the familiar territory of Sun Devil Stadium. The Trojans are 4-1 in conference and 5-3 overall, a solid record given quarterback J.T. Daniels is out for the season with a knee injury that took him out of USC’s first game of the season.

The Trojans have losses to BYU, Washington and Notre Dame, but they may add another before the Sun Devils face them; USC will host No. 7 Oregon this Saturday.

Either way, ASU needs a win.

“It’s like I always say, it’s funny in football, like in sports: When you’ve got ‘it,’ you know you’ve got it. It’s just a wonderful thing,” Edwards said. “We lost it. We’ve got to find it again. And every team goes through that. Players know, coaches know, it’s ‘it.'”

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