ARIZONA STATE FOOTBALL
Herm Edwards harps on ASU’s mental mistakes from OSU game
TEMPE — It’s back to the ol’ drawing board for head coach Herm Edwards and Arizona State after a 34-17 loss to then No. 11 Oklahoma State (now No. 8) Saturday night in rainy Stillwater, Okla.
The team had its usual day off on Monday, but Edwards is going to harp on mental focus when the team reconvenes for a film session, especially with Eastern Michigan being a prospect “trap game” with No. 14 Utah and No. 7 USC on the horizon.
“When you put the tape on — there’s some cutups I’m going to show them on offense and defense and say this is who we’re playing,” the head coach said Monday of Eastern Michigan. “They play hard. They’re coming in here to win, make no mistake. They have a nice offense. They do a nice job on defense — rallying to the ball, tackling, they’re physical up front, big O-line. They’re a good football team.
“So that’s the last thing we can do is worry about (Utah and USC). We need to worry about right now, we need to get another win. We just lost a game. You don’t want to start doing that. You got to keep going. We’ll make them understand, now they have to go play. One thing I can’t do is play. I can give them all the information but I can’t play for them. All I can do is get them to the game and from there, we gotta go.”
Some of the mental errors and miscues Edwards will address in the film room will be the two blown coverages on OSU’s last two touchdowns in the fourth quarter: 31- and 14-yard TD passes.
Other personal penalties included defensive end Joe Moore’s roughing the passer flag when Oklahoma State quarterback Spencer Sanders was throwing the ball away, which turned a 3rd-and-long into a first down at midfield en route to a Cowboys touchdown.
Another will be punter/kickoff kicker Eddie Czaplicki’s kick out of bounds after ASU had cut the deficit to 20-17 to start the fourth quarter. It set up OSU’s aforementioned 31-yard touchdown pass on a flea-flicker.
“Every situation is a little different. This one was one of looking at the game as far as not the physical part, not the talent part — just the mental things, being focused,” Edwards said. “You can’t lose your focus in football because all it takes is one play. … When that happens, not only do you let yourself down but you let everyone in this room down. That’s the great thing about a football team is trust. There’s 11 guys that have to do their job correctly and when one guy messes up sometimes it can be like, ‘Ah, it’s not a big deal.’ But most of the time it is a big deal.
“You can’t allow that to happen and that’s what we talked about after the game. When the game was played, when you watch yourself on tape, look how much of that was us. Some of that was us, had nothing to do with the opponent. We can fix that, you can fix the us part, you can do that. But it’s a hard game, you have to stay mentally focused all the time because you never know what play is about to happen. You run in your mind, ‘It’s not a big play.’ It could be, and that’s the uniqueness of the game.”
Fifth-year captain linebacker Kyle Soelle is one of the many players who always talks about doing his 1/11th — all 11 guys on the field have to fill their individual assignments in order to collectively achieve their goal.
Soelle certainly did his job against Oklahoma State with a game-high 16 tackles (eight solo), 0.5 tackles for loss and one QB hit.
“He’s a captain, he’s our guy,” defensive coordinator Donnie Henderson said Monday. “He leads by example, he leads by communication. He leads by what he does in this building every day. You can’t say [enough] about him. He is the guy.”