Edwards: ASU refining gameplan, Daniels’ ‘buying in’ to offense
Third-year Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards discussed the Sun Devils’ preseason workouts and more during an appearance on Arizona Sports’ Doug & Wolf on Monday morning.
Edwards, who has gone 15-11 in two seasons in Tempe, said his team has started putting its schemes and systems in place ahead of the team’s regular season debut against the USC Trojans on Nov. 7.
“We’ve put the pads on and so now we’ve played some tackle football,” Edwards said. “We actually on Saturday had a live scrimmage per se inside the red zone. And so right now we’re still trying to solidify some things on offense.”
Edwards said the name of the game right now is refining the team’s approach to the game, so they can be in the best position to succeed in Los Angeles against the Trojans.
“We haven’t gameplanned for anybody, we’ve installed our offense, we’ve installed most of our defense too,” Edwards said. “So now it’s just a matter of refining some things and then really determining who are going to be the guys that are called upon to play a lot of football for us.”
One of those players Edwards will be calling upon a lot this season is sophomore QB Jayden Daniels.
The former New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs coach discussed Daniels’ maturation and how he’s fitting into first-year offensive coordinator Zak Hill’s offense.
Edwards is confident that Daniels, who threw for 2,943 yards and 17 touchdowns as a freshman, can take another step forward in Year Two in Tempe.
“It’s fun to watch because he’s really buying into this offense,” Edwards said. “Zak is good enough to make sure that he’s comfortable with this offense. He’s here every day and he’s starting to grasp it, but we haven’t played anybody.
“So it’s been fun on both sides of the ball because the defense is seeing something new as well. The opponent we’ll play will test us too.”
The opponent Edwards is alluding to is a Trojans team that is coming off an 8-5 campaign in 2019.
The Trojans feature one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in sophomore Kedon Slovis.
Slovis thrived as a freshman under USC offensive coordinator Graham Harrell a year ago, throwing for 3,502 yards and 30 touchdowns in 12 appearances.
Edwards knows that Harrell and Slovis, who played high school football at Desert Mountain High School in Scottsdale, will test the Sun Devils in every facet of the game.
He believes the team is in good shape, however, 19 days ahead of their opening clash with the Trojans.
“Now the opponent that we play, whew, they will test us in every way because they’re a pretty talented group of players,” Edwards said.
Edwards added the team took a major step in preparing for their opener on Saturday, holding the team’s first full-contact scrimmage of the preseason.
The longtime NFL and college coach was asked who won the scrimmage, answering by saying that both sides showed signs of promise after an especially long offseason.
“Here’s the great part, you never lose. Because whatever side won, you just say, ‘OK, I helped that side win, now I’ve got to help this side,'” Edwards said. “So you come out of it smiling but you want to take some things away from both sides of it really because it’s teaching moments.
“That’s what practice is always about. I always tell coaches, ‘look these are teaching moments for players.’ They’re going to make errors, but teachable moments that we can look back at, look at the tape, study it and correct it and get better from it.”