After an off-season filled with whispers, second-guessing and ever some snickering the wait is finally over for Herm Edwards and Kevin Sumlin. The two new in-state college football coaches get their first chance to make a positive impression on their new schools when Arizona State hosts UTSA and the Arizona Wildcats take on BYU in Tucson.
Sumlin takes over for embattled Rich Rodriguez who was fired in January, while Edwards leads the Sun Devils after Todd Graham was let go for simply not winning enough games in the eyes of Vice President for University Athletics Ray Anderson.
— Arizona Football (@ArizonaFBall) August 25, 2018
Make no mistake, Saturday is big for both new coaches.
“The best thing you can do as a program to get buy-in is to win,” ESPN college football analyst Brock Huard said to Sports360AZ.com. “Especially against some opponents that you line up against and say, ‘Ok, our personnel is more talented because we have more speed, we have more dynamic athletes.'”
Saturday serves as a table-setter of sorts for much bigger tests ahead in Week 2. The ‘Cats will travel to travel to Texas to take on Ed Oliver and the Houston Cougars, while the Devils will welcome Big Ten power Michigan State to Tempe.
— ASU FB Recruiting (@RisingSunDevils) August 23, 2018
As for the two hires this past off-season, Huard agrees with the general consensus.
“I think the Sumlin hire at Arizona is good one,” he explained. “I think he will recruit well. I think he’s been largely liked by his players.”
His concerns with Edwards are more about the coaches around him.
“You have to have a quality staff, you just do,” Huard explained. “In [the Pac-12] especially, going up against…USC. Now Chip Kelly at UCLA…and then, oh-by-the-way up north you have Chris Petersen and David Shaw, two of the ten best coaches in college football.