The Arizona State Sun Devils host the Oregon State Beavers this weekend with both teams hoping to get back on track after a few tough weeks in a row. ASU is 2-2 so far under new head coach Herm Edwards. Their most recent result was a 27-20 loss to Washington with plenty of positive takeaways, notably an impressive rushing day by Eno Benjamin. Oregon State will try to settle Benjamin, quarterback Manny Wilkins, and the rest of ASU down at 7 PT on Pac-12 Network on Saturday night.
For a better idea of where the Sun Devils are in the grand scheme of things, we talked with Brady Vernon: a contributor for SBN’s ASU site HouseOfSparky.com. Here is what he had to say.
Manny Wilkins didn’t quite look like himself against UW. Are the Huskies that good or was it something else?
The Huskies are very good, but that wasn’t all of it last week. The Sun Devils wanted to try to run the ball, and keep running the ball. For example, Eno Benjamin got six straight carries on the first drive that got a touchdown. Wilkins also said after the game there were some throws he missed. Between those three factors is what resulted in Wilkins’ performance against the Huskies.
We all had jokes when Herm Edwards took over the program earlier this year. But so far, it seems like it’s mostly working? What are your thoughts on the new coach?
Edwards seems to set a tone for this team. He’s loose most of the time and serious when it matters. He wants what is best for his team on and off the field. When the running game wasn’t working in games against Michigan State and San Diego State he didn’t sleep to try to fix it. He also goes one-on-one with some of the players during practice. I think he’s doing a good job early on and we’re just going to have to wait to see if it continues to pan out.
If there is one, what is the difference between your expectations for this team at the beginning of the year versus now?
My belief for the team going into this season was that they were going to struggle to win 4 or 5 games and be in shootouts every week. Now, I believe the defense has shown enough that the team will probably get to 6 or 7 wins and be in most games going forward. They still own their destiny in the Pac-12 South, something I didn’t think they had a shot at going in.
How has ASU’s defense performed, in your opinion, in the early season?
They’ve preformed good enough. The defense has done better than I thought. Of course after the firs two weeks, people may have got to much into the best rush defense and leading in sacks. However, with a young defense the inexperience has started to show. In San Diego State game, the issue was that the alignments against the run were people weren’t lining up correctly and they started missing tackles. Last week in Seattle, there were multiple times the coverage in the safeties had miscommunications leading to a big play or a touchdown. There’s still a lot to improve on, but I think Edwards and defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales have seen plenty positives.
Score Prediction for this game?
I think the trend of the Beavers allowing 35 points to better opponents. I do think the Beavers will have a couple of big play touchdowns because there will be communication issues in the secondary. But being in Tempe and ASU being the better team I think Herm Edwards gets his first Pac-12 win.
For more coverage of Arizona State football and all the other Sun Devil teams, check out HouseOfSparky.com.