Herm Edwards elaborates on ASU’s new DC setup with Pierce, Lewis

Feb 5, 2020, 5:01 PM

Arizona State football head coach Herm Edwards talks in a press conference on National Signing Day ...

Arizona State football head coach Herm Edwards talks in a press conference on National Signing Day on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019 in Tempe, Ariz. (Torrence Dunham/Arizona Sports)

(Torrence Dunham/Arizona Sports)

The news out of Arizona State football certainly came out of nowhere on Tuesday.

Not only was defensive coordinator Tony White leaving for the same position at Syracuse only 47 days after being hired, but the team immediately announced after that associate head coach Antonio Pierce and special advisor Marvin Lewis would be co-defensive coordinators.

Even in such an unorthodox situation, Edwards said Wednesday this is something they are always prepared for.

“We’re never caught off-guard,” he said Wednesday to the media. “I think we understand that’s a part of it, that’s college football. We don’t run out and say the building’s on fire. We just got to adjust, that’s what we do, and I’ve done that for two years.”

That adjustment comes with one of the philosophies Edwards has carried out in his Tempe stint.

“When we first got here, that’s what we said. This is a program where we’re going to try to lift people’s potential, where eventually, you can’t keep all of them,” he said. “But we’ve kept more than have left. I think as we continue to win and continue to do things the way we do, we’re always going to miss some coaches, but there’s always a succession plan.

“We always have a plan behind the plan.”

That plan was Pierce and Lewis running the defense together, something that comes naturally with the time they spent together in the NFL.

“The great part of this is Antonio played for Marvin in Washington,” Edwards said. “You just can’t make this stuff up. You can’t. With that being said, they will figure out a way how to do that. You’re talking about two guys who have been together.”

It was not a simple problem to find a new defensive coordinator less than a month before spring practices start, until Lewis walked in Edwards’ door  less than five minutes after Edwards got the news from White to tell the head coach, “I’ve got you.”

Edwards made sure to follow up with Lewis and make sure everything was good for Lewis, who hasn’t been in coaching since he was the head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals in 2018.

He got the all signals go from Lewis, and it quickly materialized into a two-man job that will command his defense for next season.

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Herm Edwards elaborates on ASU’s new DC setup with Pierce, Lewis