On a cool, windy Friday night in Tempe
Arizona State spring football came to a close.
Cool seems to have been an underlying theme of the Sun Devils’ spring workouts under first-year head coach
Herm Edwards whose style and on-field persona has been a far cry from his predecessor, Todd Graham.
“What I saw from Herm Edwards is they have structure, but it’s a more relaxed environment,”
SunDevilSource.com Publisher Chris Karpman said to Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a recent in-studio interview. “ Todd Graham was such a disciplinarian. He ruled with an iron fist.” Karpman believes Edwards is the perfect blend of Graham, as well as recent Sun Devil head coaches Dennis Erickson and Dirk Koetter. Whatever Edwards and his new-look coaching staff has been selling, the players are certainly buying.
One of the biggest transitions in the spring has been defensively where new coordinator Danny Gonzales will be calling plays for the first time since arriving from San Diego State where he served the same role last season with for the 10-3 Aztecs.
“This is a defense that attacks in different ways,” Karpman explained. “There’s not a defense that’s really like this in the Pac-12 and their coverages are quite a bit different as well from what we’ve seen in the past. So there’s a learning curve that’s pretty steep in that regard.”
According to Karpman ASU could have an advantage on defense as teams will be seeing their unique schemes and fronts for the first time this fall.
On the offensive side of the ball the staff has “stripped down” their formations and looks but will shown more diversity with starting quarterback
Manny Wilkins running more RPO (run-pass-option) plays as the Devils look to attack defenses.
— Pac-12 Network (@Pac12Network)
April 14, 2018
“I think he grew up quite a bit last year,” Karpman said to Cesmat about the redshirt senior Wilkins. “I think his maturity really continues to take off. I think his leadership is at a different level than it was previously.”
The biggest question is will a new-look coaching staff, a unique defense and a simplified offense with a veteran quarterback lead to more victories?
“My guess is six or seven wins,” Karpman said. “I could see eight wins if things kind of flourish. In the past, you look at the first year of Erickson, the first year of Graham. They overachieved because players were so happy and bought into what they were doing.”
Sun Devil Nation is certainly hoping history repeats itself this fall.