Herm Edwards says ASU players haven’t quit: ‘I know they haven’t’
It maybe snowballed on the Arizona State Sun Devils when 28 straight points allowed to the Utah Utes took them out of control in the Pac-12 South two weeks ago.
A bye week didn’t allow enough time to stop any negative momentum.
It ended up as 56 straight points of opponent momentum through less than four quarters spanning two games.
The Washington State Cougars put four more touchdowns on ASU in the first half Saturday before the Sun Devils finally got on the board in an eventual 34-21 loss. Head coach Herm Edwards, whose team dropped to 5-3 and 3-2 in conference play, does not believe there is anything more significant at play behind the scenes.
He does not believe an NCAA investigation into the team’s recruiting practices has bothered his players.
“No. I think when you have two losses the way we lost, I mean, everything is going to get thrown out there,” Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Monday. “That’s part of it. You understand that. When you lose, all these things are going to be talked about, obviously, when you’re losing. When you’re winning, that’s not talked about.”
He also does not believe his players have quit on him or the season.
“I don’t respond to that because I know they haven’t,” he added. “That’s the bottom line. You ask any player in this building, they’ll tell you the same. For me to respond to that, I’m not even going to get in that conversation. When you play a game like that, when you turn the ball over five times, to allow them 24 points, you give them a lot of energy. Obviously, you can’t do that.”
And of those 56 straight points to opponents before a touchdown with 23 seconds left in the first half Saturday?
“It’s hard to explain,” Edwards said. “That’s the part that’s what you’re trying to figure out as a coaching staff: ‘How did this happen?’ and how we got to go forward.”
Now the challenge is keeping his players’ heads above water with so much juice squeezed out of the fan base.
Finding positives isn’t easy.
Arizona State outscored Washington State 14-6 in the second half Saturday and ended up producing more yards (406-400). Of course, those two touchdowns late in the fourth quarter masked how bad the game was for ASU.
Many of the 46,136 fans counted at Sun Devil Stadium against the Cougars didn’t stick around to see the late spurt anyway.
“They have the right to be upset,” Edwards said. “I understand that. We have a great fanbase, we really do. When you see something like that, they get upset, they have a right … to say what they need to say, get it off their chest. They prefer to leave, they leave. You would have for them to leave and all of a sudden we have an epic comeback and they missed it.”