Herm Edwards finalizes game day roster as 2018 season draws closer

Player absences and new players' performance factor into Edwards' lineup decisions

As head coach Herm Edwards makes more cuts to the game-day roster, ASU Football will begin making the transition from scrimmaging to game-oriented practices.

“I kind of know who the guys are now, so 'treat everyone fair, don’t treat everyone the same', that’s kind of my rule," Edwards said. "Some of the guys didn’t practice. We held them out and next week we’ll get all the guys in place that are supposed to practice. Some guys are nicked and bruised ... but they wanted to go and I shut them down.”

According to Edwards there are 12 players that were absent during practice who will be playing during the season. 

Some of the players missing were junior wide receiver N’Keal Harry, who was out for a headache and will be back at the next practice, and redshirt junior offensive lineman Steven Miller who will be back to practicing sometime next week. 

“I’m trying to save guys right now because going down the stretch, we want to be a fresh team,” Edwards said.

Another absent player was senior linebacker Jay Jay Wilson who is out due to an unspecified violation of team rules. 

“It’s a team-related situation,” Edwards said. “He’s been removed from activities until I decide to bring him back.”

In the absence of certain players, ASU’s new recruits have been getting more playing opportunities which has translated into younger players getting spots on the game-day roster. 

“Are they starters? I don’t know that yet, but they are going to play football for us," Edwards said. "Your eyes always tell you the truth and you can’t lie to the players. The players have figured out who the good players are.” 

One of those players is speculated to be redshirt sophomore running back Isaiah Floyd who has practiced with the first team offense and has been praised by Edwards.

The offense ran routes for the majority of practice before the team started scrimmaging. Junior wide receiver Kyle Williams and sophomore wide receiver Curtis Hodges were with the first team. Williams has been in that spot through fall camp, while Hodges has been moved up in Harry’s absence. 

Additionally, while the defense is still doing fundamental work, it is starting to transition to primarily tackle work.

“We did some tackling with the first defense … we just wanted to get more crisp at tackling,” Edwards said. “There’s a way you go about doing it. You want to make sure they tackle properly before we can get into that tackling. We did a lot of that during the spring (and have) done a lot of it thus far, so it was good to let them do that tonight so we can figure out where we’re at.”

The team will go through a mock game in the coming week for Edwards to gauge where the team is at in many different categories and so that the team, especially the new players and staff, can familiarize themselves with the routine of game days. 

"We’re going to have a walk-through, a complete walk-through … have the coaches go in the booth, upstairs with headphones, the whole nine yards," Edwards said. "There’s a way we want to operate and orchestrate it."

In the meantime, ASU football will continue to be evaluated in preparation for the season.  

“When we first got here, it was an evaluation period for a lot of guys. We want competition and we’ve added some guys to add competition — now, we’ve got to make some decisions." Edwards said. "We’re about to play here in two weeks (and) we’ve got only so many practices left from there. Going into the start of next week we’re going to make some decisions on who we think are the best guys to help us win football games.”

Reach the reporter at pburnell@asu.edu or follow @paige_burnell on Twitter.   

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