Herm Edwards, Arizona State Sun Devils football turmoil helps Jedd Fisch, Arizona Wildcats – The Arizona Republic

The Arizona State football program is in a very negative place right now, with the NCAA recruiting investigation surrounding the team and huge questions about why Herm Edwards is still ASU’s coach swirling.
It could be a huge positive for Arizona State’s rival, however, according to one Pac-12 Insider.
The San Jose Mercury News’ Jon Wilner recently detailed how the ASU football program’s struggles in Tempe could really help the Arizona football program in Tucson.
He wrote in his Pac-12 Hotline column: “Every day that Edwards remains in place and the NCAA scandal lingers, ASU’s chief rival benefits. It’s almost as if Wildcats coach Jedd Fisch is a the puppet-master — the Devil whisperer — and has convinced (Michael) Crow and (Ray) Anderson to unwittingly follow a blueprint that craters ASU and elevates Arizona.”
More: ASU President Michael Crow explains why Herm Edwards is still Sun Devils’ football coach
VOTE: Is #ArizonaFootball closing the gap with #ASUfootball amid #ASU‘s #NCAA recruiting investigation? (Sun Devils’ turmoil helps #ArizonaWildcats: https://t.co/6wr9DB2IWq) #BearDown #ForksUp @azcentral
ASU recently pulled in an historically bad recruiting class in large part because of the recruiting investigation into its program. Arizona had a historically good recruiting class.
In his column, Wilner wondered what the state of ASU recruiting, and the program, will be if Edwards remains as coach and the Sun Devils have another poor class in 2023.
“In the interview with Arizona Sports 98.7, Crow indicated resolution to the NCAA investigation could be 10 or 12 months away,” Wilner wrote. “If so, the Sun Devils could have a second recruiting class waylaid by the scandal, thereby giving Arizona greater opportunity to build on its 2021-22 success. In fact, Colorado, Utah, UCLA and others in the conference — they, too, are undoubtedly delighted by ASU’s actions. After all, those programs recruit the same pool of players. If the Sun Devils were scandal-free and winning, they could be a formidable foe on the recruiting trail.
He continued: “A year ago, Arizona was coming off a winless season and grasping for traction under a rookie coach (Fisch) while ASU had just blasted its rival 70-7 and was poised for a run at the division title. The roles haven’t flipped entirely, because ASU’s on-field product was substantially better in the fall. But step back and ask yourself which program is in better shape right now.”
More: ASU football can still reach high aspirations under Herm Edwards, Ray Anderson says
Jedd Fisch’s Wildcats got just one win in his first season in Tucson, but the recruiting class, combined with some big transfers (including Washington State QB Jayden de Laura) have things looking up for the Arizona program.
Things are not looking up for Arizona State, with the investigation continuing, the recent loss of quarterback Jayden Daniels to the transfer portal, and an overall feeling of unrest among the fanbase with the current state of the program.
Crow, ASU’s President, recently appeared on The Bickley and Marotta Show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, where he explained why Edwards still has a job even after several of his assistants that he hired are out of one amid the NCAA investigation.
“In all of these things where you have people who decide not to play by the rules, those people are gone,” Crow said about Edwards still being the Sun Devils’ coach. “Now we are looking at what went wrong and why that happened and so forth, so we are still in the thick of that. Coach Edwards has done an outstanding job of upgrading our overall program. We’ve got this collision of people that decided to not play by the rules relative to recruiting and so we’ll be looking at how we can make improvements and so forth and so on, but coach Edwards is responsible for all of the actions of his people but these are not things that he asked them to do. These are not things that he was a part of so we’re looking at everything possible. He’s brought a lot of talent and a lot of energy and a lot of creativity and now we’re dealing with people that couldn’t play by the rules and now they are gone.”
More: Arizona State football coach Herm Edwards addresses NCAA investigation, ‘trust’
Anderson, ASU’s Athletic Director, also appeared on the show this week and defended the state of the football program.
“We still have lots of confidence that this program is still going to accomplish some things,” Anderson said. “Yes, we acknowledge we’ve had some struggles, but overall we advanced the program. … We’re going to have to adjust our model because the college model has changed. We’re going to do that. We’re under process of doing that and we’re very excited, certainly our players, our coaches, our staff are excited to go into spring ball with open competition, certainly at the quarterback position and in getting ready to go into summer and getting ready for a 2022 season that internally we believe is going to be very positive. That’s what we would say to our fans.”
More: Arizona State football’s Herm Edwards slammed for ‘trust’ comments, lack of accountability
Edwards also had an interview on the station and talked about “trust.”
“I feel this way, that when you delegate responsibility you have to trust people,” Edwards said during his interview with Dan Bickley and Vince Marotta. “I live in a world like that. I grew up this way. I don’t micromanage people. I understand what is going on for the most part, but at the end of the day, football is about trust, by the way. This game is built on trust. … People in the circle you’ve got to trust each other that they are going to do their job. If they don’t, you can’t run the play. It doesn’t function that way … Sports is all about trust. It’s about the people that you trust that are going to do their jobs correctly and in the right way.”
More: Jayden Daniels transfer reaction: Arizona State football ‘a mess’ under coach Herm Edwards
Wilner slammed the lack of accountability for Crow, Anderson and Edwards at Arizona State in his column.
“Maybe we’ll look back on this tumultuous stretch for ASU football and conclude that Crow and Anderson were a step ahead of everyone — that they played us for the fools and will have a good laugh when the NCAA exonerates Edwards and levies the lightest of sanctions,” he wrote. “Or maybe we’ll regard their words and actions as examples of administrative malpractice the likes of which the conference has rarely seen.”
ASU is scheduled to open its fifth season under Edwards at home on Sept. 1 against Northern Arizona.
Arizona is scheduled to open its second season under Fisch on the road against San Diego State on Sept. 3.
More: Arizona football’s Jedd Fisch addresses recruiting success, culture build for Wildcats
Reach Jeremy Cluff at jeremy.cluff@arizonarepublic.com. Follow him on Twitter @Jeremy_Cluff.
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