Arizona State football took the field this past weekend for the annual spring game and first spring game under new head coach Herm Edwards.
At first glance, the Sun Devils looked sloppy, missing a few tackles, throwing a couple interceptions, but it was clear the team had talent, nonetheless. These issues are nothing the team can’t fix between now and September. The biggest takeaway from the spring game: the foundation is definitely there.
Perhaps the best surprise was the skill and power of the run game. The toughest hit to ASU’s offense was the loss of both veteran running backs, Kalen Ballage and Demario Richard. Herm Edwards and his recruiting team shocked many in his ability to secure depth in the offensive backfield during his first recruiting class. As for the game, Trelon Smith was definitely the standout. With Eno Benjamin unable to participate due to injury, the majority of snaps belonged to Smith.
Edwards has continued to add strength to the ASU run game, recruiting four running backs in the 2018 recruiting class, all three-star recruits, that will fall in very nicely behind Smith and Benjamin. This depth and strength at running back should give ASU fans some confidence, both in Herm Edwards’ recruiting ability and in the prospect of the offensive ability of this team, especially as Edwards has emphasized how much he plans to run the ball.
This offensive showing certainly could help with the recruitment of 2020 quarterback Shane Illingworth. The 6-6 California resident was at Sun Devil Stadium on Apr. 13.
Amazing visit at Arizona State University, great experience seeing the new facilities and talking with the coaching staff. Thankyou for everything. Till I see you again 🔱 #ForksUp pic.twitter.com/1x05g9Suso
— Shane Illingworth (@shane_wayne0411) April 14, 2018
Edwards also proved his recruiting ability on the defensive side of the ball. The spring game gave the new defensive staff an opportunity to try new schemes and patch up areas that need work. Danny Gonzales, defensive coordinator, and Antonio Pierce, linebacker coach, attracted many of ASU’s top-ranked defensive recruits, so all eyes were on them.
During the scrimmage, most of the snaps were given to the second- and third- team defenses, allowing Gonzales to grade the depth in the entirety of his defense, to good consequence. The Sun Devil linebackers forced two interceptions, one on the second snap of the scrimmage and the other a pick-six. This is very good news for a defense that has been known to struggle in points allowed.
All in all, it was a very productive night for Arizona State football. With an almost entirely new coaching staff, new strategies and schemes, and new recruits, ASU has depth and potential that it hasn’t seen in quite some time. The team still has work to do, but that is what the offseason is for. Come September, it should be no shock if Sun Devil football turns some heads.