ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL

ASU’s Herm Edwards searching for team identity after tumultuous offseason

Jul 29, 2022, 3:40 PM | Updated: 3:44 pm

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils walks back to the sidlines after confering ...

Head coach Herm Edwards of the Arizona State Sun Devils walks back to the sidlines after confering with officials in the first quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field on October 6, 2018 in Boulder, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

(Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)

Arizona State will field a roster that may be unrecognizable compared to last year’s team to the fans around the Valley.

The Sun Devils had 17 players leave via the transfer portal in what head coach Herm Edwards now refers to as “free agency” in college football.

Edwards said on Friday at Pac-12 media day in Los Angeles that the team is still searching for an identity, something that may not come until after Week 3.

“For us we have 43 new players. Right now it seems to me from afar when I watch them, it’s a very tight-knit group of guys, in my opinion,” Edwards told reporters on Friday.

“How will they play together, how will they collectively come together? You probably won’t know that until after the third week of competition. What kind of team do you have? After three weeks you’ll figure out how they play together.”

The exodus of players has largely been rumored due to the lack of name, image and likeness deals that the Sun Devil players have been receiving.

Edwards was asked about the specific issue and did not shy away from a shortcoming from the football department.

“We would all be naive if that wasn’t part of it, if not more than some of it,” Edwards said.

“That’s the landscape in which we are now in. Every coach understands that it is a big part of it and we know it. We all heard the noise from the train coming down the track, but the train is here now.”

Although a lot of uncertainty weighs on the program heading into the new season, fifth-year transfer quarterback Emory Jones remains a positive for the team as a replacement of Jayden Daniels.

Jones is coming off of a 2021 campaign in which he threw for 2,734 yards and 19 touchdowns on 64.7% passing while throwing 13 interceptions with Florida. Edwards, though, has not committed to Jones as the No. 1 guy in another sign of uncertainty for the program.

“Great work ethic, has some leadership qualities you like and some experience that definitely helps at that position,” Edwards said. “There will be a competition but you got to make a decision sooner rather than later at that position. It’s probably the most important position on the field.”

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