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Herm Edwards: ASU still considering Hue Jackson, others for OC job

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils watches from the sidelines during the second half of the NCAAF game against the Arizona Wildcats at Sun Devil Stadium on November 30, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Arizona State football head coach Herm Edwards confirmed to 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station a report that former Cleveland Browns head coach Hue Jackson is a candidate for the Sun Devils’ vacant offensive coordinator position.

The ASU program has not decided who the next offensive coordinator will be, though, be it Jackson or someone else.

“I’ve known Hue for quite some time,” Edwards told Doug & Wolf on Monday. “So we have a relationship, but we haven’t decided who the coordinator’s going to be yet.”

Edwards added that former Cincinnati Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis, who is now a special advisor on Edwards’ staff, will sit in on the interviews, too. Edwards declined to list who any other candidates were — other than Jackson, because the former Browns coach is not currently on another team’s staff — but said there is a list of candidates that he intends to interview. Edwards also mentioned, in passing, a timeline of “the next two weeks” when discussing the work that lies ahead.

Edwards announced Sunday that this year’s offensive coordinator, Rob Likens, who had been with the program since the Todd Graham era, would not be retained going forward. According to The Athletic’s Doug Haller, wide receivers coach Charlie Fisher and tight ends coach Donnie Yantis will also not be brought back.

“I just think, first of all, those men that are no longer on the staff are fabulous football coaches, and they helped build this foundation,” Edwards said. “And we can’t lose sight of that. But I just think right now, we need to go in a different direction as far as how we play offense and what I would like to get accomplished on that side of the ball.

“It’s never personal with me. It’s never personal. It never is. Those guys are fabulous coaches. I talked to all three of them in length, and they understood the business.”

Edwards said — as might be expected with a change in offensive coordinator — that he wanted the Sun Devils to score more points. ASU averaged 25.2 points per game this season, which ranked 94th out of 130 schools.

“We’ve got to do a better job than that,” he said.

“To me, college football, you’ve got to be in the mid 30s if you’re going to win. You can play defense and that’s great, and you’ve got to play defense, but you can play better defense when you’ve got a lead. … Look at some of these teams that are going to be in the playoffs. They’re in the high 30s, 40s a game. That’s the world college football is now. It’s not 24-17, like the NFL.”

Like Edwards, Jackson would be making the jump from the NFL to the college ranks, should he become Arizona State’s next offensive coordinator. Edwards said he’d want someone who is good at recruiting, because recruiting is “80% of our life.” He also said he believed one wouldn’t make that move without realizing that reality of college coaching.

As for whether the offense would change going forward, Edwards turned down the suggestion that ASU would move to an Air Raid style.

“No. I believe this: to score points, you’ve got to throw. But to win, you’ve got to be able to run,” he said. “So there’s got to be a balance there. There’s always got to be a balance for me there, because weather conditions will dictate sometimes that you cannot throw.”

According to Sun Devil Source, ASU football already added Prentice Gill, who most recently was an offensive analyst at Oregon.

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