Herm Edwards arrived at ASU in 2018 with aspirations to be relevant in the Pac-12, and he ended his coaching tenure with an embarrassing loss to a 20.5 point underdog team at home. Last Saturday night, Eastern Michigan simply looked like the better team, fanning the flames of ASU at Sun Devil Stadium 30-21.
It was a rather stunning defeat after ASU played a close game into the fourth quarter at Oklahoma State on Sept. 10th, but the result against Eastern Michigan is what matters the most. There is no way to accept losing to an underdog opponent from the Mid-American Conference.
However, the ASU administration should not have waited this long to let Edwards go. Edwards should not have been the coach going into this football season in the first place.
READ MORE: Herm Edwards out as football head coach
In 2021, ASU announced that the NCAA had kicked off an investigation into the football program, leading to multiple coaches either resigning or being fired and 17 players entering the transfer portal. The ongoing investigation concerns ASU recruiting high school football players during the COVID-19 dead period in 2020.
The 17 players that entered the transfer portal included star quarterback Jayden Daniels, who transferred to LSU for the 2022-2023 college football season. Offensive coordinator Zak Hill and defensive coordinator Antonio Pierce both resigned following the news of the investigation.
ASU ended up having the 103rd best-recruiting class in 2022 following the news of the investigation, which was worse than schools like Wyoming, Toledo and San Jose State. Eastern Michigan placed 128th.
For a football program that would love to consider itself a top-of-the-pack school in the Pac-12, these are extreme lows to allow from a head coach going into a football season.
But even if we ignore the investigation and the fallout that came from it, the on-the-field results from the Edwards era were still not up to the necessary standard.
Edwards won only one bowl game throughout his time at ASU, and he never competed in a Pac-12 championship game. His teams were often highly penalized; ASU finished with the fifth-most penalties per game last season.
Chris Karpman, the publisher of Sun Devil Source for 247Sports, described Edwards as being “like a parent who let his kids get away with a little too much.”
After ASU’s loss against Eastern Michigan, graduate student and quarterback Emory Jones said, “The whole week, the team overall, we weren’t locked into the little details.”
The lack of discipline and preparation that Karpman and Jones hinted at is not at all up to par for a head coach of a Power Five football team. If this has been the norm for Edwards throughout his time at ASU, as seems to be apparent, I am shocked that the team won as many games as it did. It leaves me wondering if ASU would have won more games under a high-quality football coach.
Karpman spoke to the potential that ASU had, saying that he believed the team’s talent was on par with good college football teams, particularly in 2021.
Yet, Edwards was not able to turn in any results.
Luckily, ASU administration finally decided to move on from Edwards. But we will always be left wondering what could have been.
Edited by Sadie Buggle, Logan Stanley and Kristen Apolline Castillo.
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Editor's note: The opinions presented in this column are the author's and do not imply any endorsement from The State Press or its editors.
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Aaron Stigile is an opinion columnist at The State Press. He previously wrote for The Defiant Movement and is working toward a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communication. He is also working toward a minor in Spanish and a certificate in Cross-Sector Leadership.