Today it began. Whether you like it or not. The Herm Edwards era as the Arizona State Sun Devil football coach is officially underway. In the Coaches Club at Sun Devil Stadium the assembled media gathered to see how this unique hire was going to be explained.
Believe me, everybody was looking forward to what Athletic Director, Ray Anderson, had to say about hiring his good friend, Herm Edwards. You could hear words like “weird”, “strange”, and “potential disaster” being whispered. It made the atmosphere inside the Coaches Club a bit anxious.
Coach Edwards comes to Arizona State from ESPN. Everybody who watches NFL pre-game shows on the ESPN Network easily recognize him. He’s a phenomenal public speaker and inspirational speaker.
Can he still be an effective head football coach? He hasn’t coached any kind of football in almost 10 years. He hasn’t been around the college game for 30 years. He wasn’t going to hear any of that kind of thought.
“That’s what I do. I coach football. I’ve been coaching football all my life.” Coach Edwards said.
At times during the introductory press conference it felt more like a pastor giving the sermon than a football press conference.
What is Edwards going to bring to the Sun Devil program?
He brings his own brand whether he wants to admit that or not. Herm Edwards is a big personality in the football world. However, is his personal brand going to be too big for Arizona State?
Herm Edwards didn’t seem to think so.
“It’s not about the players or athletes playing in the jerseys. It’s not the name on the back of the jersey. It’s the name on the front of the jersey.” Edwards mentioned.
He talked about turning the young football players into good citizens, good men, good fathers, and good husbands. Edwards likes to look at the big picture when he speaks about football.
Was Herm Edwards suggesting that Todd Graham or any other coach wasn’t trying to do that? I don’t think so, but he said it so matter-of-factly that it made the thought creep into my head.
You can say many things about Todd Graham and his coaching schemes, but to suggest he wasn’t trying to make his players better people is way off the mark.
With the hire of Herm Edwards, AD Ray Anderson is sticking his claim on the football program. This is his “guy”. Anderson will either look like genius or something else. I let you fill in the something else.
ASU President Michael Crow, Ray Anderson, and Herm Edwards all talked about this new vision of doing things with the football program. The vision is like a NFL model way of doing things. Coach Edwards will have the official title of head coach, but it appears that he will be more of General Manager with the program.
Changing the way the football program is doing things has and will bring criticism. It already has. Change is tough. It just is. If this system works on the college level you will see it duplicated by more football programs. If it doesn’t, we know the answer to that.
Edwards will coach, but he is going to delegate responsibilities to the other coaches on the field.
“You coach players, but you also coach the coaches. When you delegate you empower your coaches. I want to do that.” Herm Edwards said passionately.
Ray Anderson certainly made the point that the football program needs to perform at a higher level. He pointed out all the other sports programs at Arizona State and the success that those programs have had recently.
“This is not a rebuild. We need competitive consistency with this program and I believe Herm Edwards can do that.” Ray Anderson said.
We will see if Coach Edwards can bring that consistency. Just because you are Herm Edwards, that doesn’t mean you’ll be judged any differently than any other coach. Edwards has to win. The clock is ticking as of today for Herm Edwards.