May 21, 2024

How Herm Edwards is changing the culture at Arizona State

Arizona State head coach Herm Edwards, center, talks with players during a timeout of an NCAA college football game against UTSA, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Ralph Freso)

The Sun Devils are on a three-game win streak, already bowl eligible and have a chance to finish the regular season with at least eight wins for the first time since 2014.

Out of all the newly-hired coaches for the 2018 season, Edwards was the most criticized. All the hype surrounded Chip Kelly at UCLA and Scott Frost at Nebraska, but 10 games into the season Arizona State has more wins than both of those schools combined.

All the naysayers thought in hindsight that Athletic Director Ray Anderson made an ignorant decision by hiring Edwards, but it’s starting to look like a brilliant move for Arizona State. USC was the media darlings and favored to win the PAC-12 South to start the year. However, a potential berth in the program’s first-ever PAC-12 Championship Game is still up for grabs in the Division.

Edwards has the Sun Devils playing with confidence and the team has a ton of momentum heading into the last two games of the regular season. Both games will be on the road against an Oregon team averaging 33 points per game at the Autzen Zoo and the annual in-state rivalry against the hated Wildcats.

Arizona State’s offense has come alive during the three-game win streak and averaging 35.6 points per game. The Sun Devils are also No. 3 in the PAC-12 in total offense, averaging 439.9 yards per game. Arizona State’s rushing attack has been productive and scored 20 touchdowns on the ground which is second-best in the league.

Senior signal-caller Manny Wilkins has thrown for 2,449 yards, 16 touchdowns and four interceptions. He also has the second-best passer rating of any starting quarterback in the PAC-12. Sophomore running back Eno Benjamin leads the conference in rushing, averaging 129.5 yards per game and is tied for a league high with 12 rushing touchdowns.

Junior receiver N’Keal Harry is 72 yards away from eclipsing a 1,000 yards receiving and No. 2 in the PAC-12 in receiving touchdowns. The defense has been relentless with the pass rush and been getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks. Arizona State is No. 2 in the PAC-12 at generating sacks, with 26 on the season.

Edwards has done a brilliant job leading this team and the Sun Devils have a chance to make history this season. If Edwards can get Arizona State to the Conference Championship Game, he no doubt deserves to be Coach of The Year in the PAC-12. There’s still a lot of football left to be played and we’ll all see how November plays out for Arizona State.