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ASU is Herm Edwards’ ‘last hoorah’; Sun Devils have options at RB

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils on the field for warm ups to the NCAAF game against the Oregon Ducks at Sun Devil Stadium on November 23, 2019 in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

If for some reason you are one of those worried about Arizona State head football coach Herm Edwards having a change in heart and making a jump back to the NFL, you can rest easy.

The head coach isn’t looking to extend his coaching career past Tempe. He made it short and sweet when posed with the question on Thursday.

“I can make it a statement and I’ll stay true to the statement: This will be my last hoorah,” Edwards said. “I’ve had opportunities, I’m not going anywhere.

“Once I leave here, hopefully this program’s headed in the right direction and I can come to some games later on in my life. It’ll be kinda fun to watch.”

In two years as the Sun Devils head coach, Edwards has compiled a 15-11 record (.577). After going 7-6 in his inaugural year as ASU’s head coach, Edwards improved to 8-5 in 2019. He capped off the season with a 20-14 Sun Bowl victory over Florida State.

Three-headed running attack

The Sun Devils enter a new era this season.

For the first time in Edwards’ ASU coaching career, he has new coordinators running the offense and defense.

Defensively, Edwards went in-house, elevating Marvin Lewis and Antonio Pierce as coordinators. New plan, familiar faces.

He looked elsewhere for OC Zak Hill, who joins the team after spending the previous four seasons at Boise State.

Adding to the offensive shakeup is the situation at running back, with former starter Eno Benjamin now at the NFL level as a member of the Arizona Cardinals.

In Benjamin’s place sit freshmen Daniyel Ngata and DeaMonte Trayanum and junior Rachaad White.

“I don’t know [how the running back depth chart will look],” Edwards said Thursday. “I know Zak likes having three backs. I think it’s like anything else. Once you start playing football games how you use those guys is very important and the production that they bring to the table.

“We talk about that all the time. When you go in the game, you’ve got to be a productive player. You’ll be judged on that. Zak will use them accordingly. To how they fit, I think a lot of it will be gameplan oriented, what we want guys to do.”

Each running back brings something different to the table, Edwards said.

Ngata shows flashes of Benjamin, “He can make you miss real good with the ball in his hands.”

Trayanum adds a “big powerful guy” to the running backs room, while White brings a “combination” of the two with his height, good hands and great vision.

Whichever one does end up getting starter reps should see success given Hill’s record in the running game.

In four seasons as Boise State’s offensive coordinator, every starting RB rushed for more than 1,000 yards and at least seven touchdowns. That includes touchdown totals of 23 (2016), 12 (2017) and 17 (2018). Backup rushers also found success, scoring at least six touchdowns in two of the four seasons.

“They’re great guys in that room,” Hill said Saturday. “They understand winning, but they also understand competition. We want to win as a team and be tight as a unit.

“But ultimately, they are competing in that room for every rep they get, which makes us better and that’s what we want. It’s an exciting room and there’s good competition in there.”


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