ASU head coach Herm Edwards: QB Emory Jones’ running depends on ‘what he sees’

Sep 16, 2022, 8:04 PM
Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones throws a pass against Northern Arizona during the first half ...

Arizona State quarterback Emory Jones throws a pass against Northern Arizona during the first half of an NCAA college football game Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

Arizona State Sun Devils transfer quarterback Emory Jones has done a good job protecting the football so far this season.

Part of Jones’ game at Florida was picking up yards as a runner. So far, the junior has just 31 rushing yards on 18 attempts. Jones has two rushing touchdowns, but he’s averaged just 1.7 yards per carry through two games — a far cry from his 5.7 yards per carry his last three seasons in the SEC.

Against Oklahoma State last week, Jones had -17 yards on seven carries. Those numbers took a hit because Jones was sacked three times and had very few designed runs, which became a topic of discussion after the Week 2 defeat.

But after an opener where ASU didn’t need to open the playbook, the Sun Devils didn’t get much more creative on the road against a top-15 team, leaving questions for head coach Herm Edwards about whether he could get more — via the pass or quarterback runs — out of his quarterback.

“When you run some (run-pass option), he has the ability to run if he would like,” Edwards told Arizona Sports’ Bickley & Marotta on Friday. “That’s the quarterback’s decision.”

Edwards added that a lot of what the signal-caller can do is predicated on pass protection. The Sun Devils allowed a strip-sack fumble against Northern Arizona and three sacks against Oklahoma State.

“With passes, you’ve got to protect the quarterback,” Edwards said when asked about why ASU didn’t try to push the ball down the field more against a high-powered OSU team. “If you can’t protect the quarterback, it really doesn’t matter if you want to go back to pass.”

Jones completed 12-for-24 of his passes last week but had 223 yards and his first passing touchdown of the season. Jones had a couple highlight passes in the second half, including one to wide receiver Giovanni Sanders for 73 yards.

Jones threw a 21-yard touchdown pass to Elijhah Badger later on, cutting the deficit to 20-16 early in the fourth quarter.

Edwards noted that Jones has thrown the ball well when pass protection has been there. The offensive line will need to remain sharp against EMU on Saturday, as the Eagles are not afraid to bring pressure.

“They’ll (blitz) five and six guys. If you get behind the chains with these guys, they’re going to blitz you,” Edwards said. “Even 3rd-and-5, they’ll bring five guys sometimes.”

The Sun Devils look to get back above .500 against a team that likes to bring pressure but has had a hard time getting sacks. As a team, the Eagles have just one sack through two weeks.

ASU (1-1) hosts Eastern Michigan (1-1) on Saturday at 8 p.m. on ESPN 620 AM and 98.7 FM HD-2.

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