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Herm Edwards to new ASU DC Tony White: ‘This is your defense’

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards shouts instructions during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Washington State, Saturday, Oct. 12, 2019, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

TEMPE, Ariz. – Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards said in a press conference Friday he is allowing Tony White to mold the defense how he sees fit after announcing him as the team’s new defensive coordinator on 98.7 FM Arizona’s Sports Station Thursday.

White replaces Danny Gonzales, who left Arizona State to become the head coach of New Mexico.

“I told him this is your defense,” Edwards said. “I said whatever you want to do, we’ll adjust.”

White has been with Arizona State for the past two seasons, serving as the cornerbacks coach and defensive passing game coordinator after previously being the cornerbacks coach at San Diego State for nine years.

White said Friday the plan is to collaborate with other coaches and stress a hard-working mentality.

“It’s just a matter of everybody coming together, putting those ideas down on paper, and practicing it, executing it, getting the guys feeling good and away we go,” White said. “When you play great defense … it’s about effort, it’s about toughness, it’s about getting the guys to play fast.”

Suffice to say the Arizona State players were thrilled with the promotion of White.

Antonio Pierce, who Edwards also promoted to assistant head coach, said White received a standing ovation from the players during practice.

“I think they were about to give him an ice bath,” Pierce said.

White marks the second new coordinator for Arizona State heading into the 2020 season. Offensive coordinator Rob Likens was replaced by Zak Hill last week.

Even with all the turnover, Edwards isn’t worried about players adjusting during the transition, citing the fluctuating nature of the high school and college level.

“Moving is part of their personality now,” Edwards said, adding they have recruited guys who have been to three high schools. “When coaches move around it’s like, ‘OK, we get it, coach is bringing in another coach and he will be my coach.'”

While coordinators may change or go on to become head coaches at other places, which Edwards admitted during his radio show will eventually happen with Pierce, the one constant at Arizona State will be the head coaching position.

“I would hope the head coach would give them some sort of security … I’m not going anywhere,” Edwards said. “This is it. This is my last job.”

“The players understand that and there is some security there,” he added.

Arizona State ends the 2019 season on New Year’s Eve against Florida State in the Sun Bowl at 12 p.m. on 98.7 FM.

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