Arizona State visits Folsom Field on Saturday afternoon to take on the Buffs. If you haven’t watched Herm Edward’s team, well, you’re missing out. He is a naturally entertaining man that has made a naturally entertaining, smart team. To find out more about the Sun Devils , we asked Brady Vernon from House of Sparky (houseofsparky.com) to give us the lowdown.
- Herm Edwards was a hire largely panned by the national media. It seems to have worked out so far. How much of the team’s success so far has been the bevy of talent left to him and how much is Herm?
Of course Edwards was left with guys such as Manny Wilkins, N’Keal Harry, Eno Benjamin, Cohl Cabral with Rob Likens being promoted on offense. Those carry over, but as Edwards has said many times this season he wants to run the football. He’s attempting to insert the identity of the offense as his own, and it’s working for now. Edwards bringing Danny Gonzales, among others to his staff such as Antonio Pierce, to his defensive staff have helped a young, inexperience defense start to understand the 3-3-5 defense.
2. ASU changed defensive coordinators this offseason, and it has paid off big time. What is Danny Gonzales’ scheme and why does it work so well?
Danny Gonzales’ scheme of a 3-3-5 defense comes from the lineage created at San Diego State. It works well because it lets very athletic guys such as freshmen linebacker Merlin Robertson be able to do a lot of things. Even Jalen Harvey, who played tight end last season, is now a top tackler for the Sun Devils as the Tillman safety (The extra defensive back in the 3-3-5). And when you look at ASU’s top recruits like Robertson and freshman safety Aashari Crosswell, you’ll understand what the Sun Devils are trying to do in the future.
3. The weapons around Manny Wilkins this year are fantastic. Who sees the ball the most and who do you wish saw the ball more?
Obviously N’Keal Harry leads the teams in receiving and for good reason. Fans have been wanting to get the ball to Harry even more because when you have a potential first round talent, you should use them as much as possible. Harry will get plenty of targets. One guy I wished was used more was JUCO transfer running back Isaiah Floyd. Floyd came to ASU with a cluster of running backs behind Eno Benjamin, vying for the backup spot. A good fall Floyd earned the spot, but hasn’t got a ton of game time. I think they’d could run some really fun two back sets with him and Benjamin, with Floyd’s ability to catch the ball.
4. Obviously, ASU’s defensive front has been super disruptive this year. How do you run or pass on this defense?
To run the ball on the Sun Devils, teams must block Renell Wren who has played very well. However, over the past three weeks teams have been running the ball with ease on the defense. The young linebackers sometimes struggle with their gap alignments. Most teams don’t pass the ball a ton to the boundaries because Kobe Williams and Chase Lucas have done a very good job this year. Teams attack the middle of the field because the safeties have rotated a lot this year, causing miscommunications, especially on play-action.
5. Who are the players to watch on offense and defense?
On offense Wilkins, Harry and Benjamin will have the biggest influences on offense. A name to watch as well is Frank Darby, he’ll be the guy the Sun Devils try to get a deep shot to in the game on Saturday. Wren and Robertson also have been very good for the Sun Devil defense, the other players to watch for are linebacker Darien Butler and safety Demonte King.
6. Prediction for the game?
I think the Buffs take control of this game from the start, and once they start running the ball with good effect the Sun Devils depth will be tested.