(Photo: Nicholas Badders/WCSN)
Former NFL coach and ESPN analyst Herm Edwards was introduced as ASU football’s next head coach on Monday. Here are five takeaways from a wild, wide-ranging press conference at Sun Devil Stadium.
- Herm Edwards is a football guy.
Edwards is a passionate, motivational speaker that tries to relate football to life. “We don’t huddle anymore as a society,” he said. “That’s the problem with it, to be quite honest with you.” Whatever that means, Edwards clearly loves the game of football enough to view it as a metaphor for society.
His one-liners garnered approving nods and knee-slapping chortles from the boosters seated in the front row of the presser. Whether Edwards resonates with the rest of the fan base, and turns his words into action, remains to be seen.
- Ray Anderson felt an overwhelming need to justify his decision.
If you thought Edwards spoke passionately, just listen to Athletic Director Ray Anderson defend Edwards’ hiring. Anderson sharply criticized how “average” ASU football has been in recent years and set an extremely high standard for success.
“ASU football is nobody’s rebuild. This is not a startup. This is not a start over,” he said. “We need to take the next step in competitive consistency and I believe Herman Edwards can take us there.” Anderson’s belief will get a strong test from reality in the coming years.
- Not a lot of details, but a lot of words.
We heard from three different people on Monday before we heard from Edwards. Anderson, University President Dr. Michael Crow and Edwards’ agent Phil de Picciotto all took the podium and attempted to justify the hire, lavishing praise on Edwards as a man and football coach.
One cringe-worthy line from de Picciotto really stood out: “I have no doubt he will put a lot of points on the scoreboard of life for everyone in this community,” he said of Edwards. It’s weird enough that Edwards’ agent gave remarks in the first place, but the fact that we heard minimal details from the folks directly involved in the decision should give Sun Devil fans pause.
- This move has garnered criticism on a national level.
Fans in Tempe and reporters and college football experts around the country have been largely critical of the decision to hire Edwards. Monday’s press conference had its fair share of sound bites that left many of those people scratching their heads.
When asked how he’s going to make up for the gaps in his coaching experience, Edwards said the following: “Well I don’t have to make up because I visit college campuses all the time. And when you sit where I sit, when you sit at the ESPN desk, I’m not just watching professional football, I’m actually watching college football.”
I, too, have been watching college and professional football for the last nine-plus years. That doesn’t mean I should be a coach.
- Despite his enthusiasm, Edwards doesn’t seem prepared for this.
The job of college football coach is demanding, complicated and high-pressure. Edwards didn’t demonstrate an ability to handle those factors when he coached in the NFL, when he was on TV or when he was introduced Monday. Sure he was charismatic when he reiterated Anderson’s talking points, but what has he said or done that proves he’s ready to elevate the program to Anderson’s expectations?
Monday’s presser provided more questions than answers. Edwards summed it up perfectly near the end of the hour-long event:
“What is our DNA? I don’t know. We’ll find out and maybe we’ve got to work on it.”