Previewing Utah’s 2022 Schedule With Unrivaled: Arizona State

Jun 28, 2022, 11:23 AM
Cam Rising - Utah Utes vs. ASU...
Utah Utes quarterback Cameron Rising (7) in a game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the Utah Utes on October 16, 2021, at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah, (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY- Summer is here which means it’s a great time to start thinking about the 2022 Utah football schedule. While we are still about a month out from fall camp, it’s never too early to start previewing the Utes’ opponents with the help of Alex Kirry and Scott Mitchell of Unrivaled. Last time we previewed Utah’s ninth game of the year against the Arizona Wildcats with help from Arizona Star beat writer, Michael Lev. This week we will move back up to the early phase of Utah’s schedule with the fourth game of the season against embattled Arizona State on September 24th. To help break down everything Sun Devils, Kirry and Mitchell talked to Chris Karpman from Sun Devil Source on the 247 Sports Network.

A Precarious Position

The Sun Devils might be one of the more interesting teams the Utes have to play in 2022 and it’s not because anyone has much hope of them being good. Instead, the interest lies in the mire of an on-going NCAA investigation into recruiting infractions during the Covid-19 season. As Karpman explains, it’s put ASU in the position of having to scramble to fill spots both on a staff and personnel front.

“Donnie Henderson has been promoted to defensive coordinator,” Karpman said. “He was an analyst who took over the defensive backs last year when Chris Hopkins was put on paid leave. Ultimately Hopkins was fired. Henderson is a four decade veteran of football. He was actually ASU’s defensive back’s coach when it went to the Rose Bowl the last time in 1996. He has coached for Herm Edwards before at the NFL level as a defensive coordinator at that level so he is very experienced.”

“On offense they are going to make some changes with Zack Hill resigning,” Karpman continued. “Glen Thomas has replaced him. He’s from UNLV for the last couple of years as a coordinator. He’s coached quarterbacks at the NFL level before with the Atlanta Falcons. I think he’s going to move more in the direction of being pro-style- they were pretty multiple last year. They will perhaps huddle a decent amount this year, have more of a play-action pass game, drop-backs. They have to figure out who their quarterback is going to be because of Jayden Daniels transferring to LSU has left them in a little bit of a lurch.”

Just How Bad Could It Be?

In 2021 many expected ASU to put up a good fight for the south title, but came up very short of expectations. In 2022 things appear to be even less favorable for the Sun Devils despite doing a pretty good job filling holes in the roster through the NCAA Transfer Portal.

“Yeah, I was pretty bullish on ASU’s chances last year,” Karpman said. “I’m pretty sure I told you guys I thought they had the best schedule, returning starters, and experience and they blew the game at Utah after being up a couple of touchdowns at halftime. I think they did a poor job at maximizing their potential despite an eight-win regular season.”

“This year they certainly are not going to be as highly regarded- not by me anyways,” Karpman continued. “I think when they are replacing more than half of their starters, their quarterback, adding a new scheme on offense- some of their best players are gone including their secondary, three of their offensive line starters, a couple of their best weapons including Rashad White. They did do a good job in the transfer portal. They have 15 newcomers on campus for spring ball which is the most ever headlined by Xazavian Valladay who was the best Mountain West running back over the last few years. They got offensive line transfers. They have done a pretty good job in the spots where they lost guys, but I don’t think they will be as good everywhere and with all the disruption and I don’t think their schedule is quite as favorable. I think they will be behind at least a couple of teams.”

Can Herm Edwards Survive?

One of the more interesting aspects of ASU’s suffering has been what will happen with the head coaching spot. So far Herm Edwards has survived the cutting and slashing of the football staff, but there are questions as to how much longer he can survive the ax. Karpman admits many of the moves the Sun Devils have made up to this point have been puzzling which makes it hard to predict what will ultimately happen.

“I think some of the decisions already being made to this point by the administration and even the president, Michael Crowe of ASU has been head scratching at times so I’m not going to prognosticate too much about the likelihood of Edwards being back next year,” Karpman said. “It seems to me like it’s going to be difficult for him to ultimately survive this. They haven’t met the expectations set forth by Ray Andersen as Athletic Director which were really almost overly lofty at times. Their trend line with their roster and recruiting is not going well. Five of their coaches have lost their jobs and we have reported previously that Herm Edwards was personally involved with meeting with recruits both on and off campus during the dead period when it wasn’t allowed.”

A Total Lack Of Discipline

The biggest problem ASU has faced since Edwards was hired according to Karpman has been a total lack of discipline from top to bottom. Karpman argues this is why the Sun Devils are penalized at a high rate on the field, as well as the internal problems they have faced off of it.

“Poor discipline,” Karpman said bluntly. “I think if you were to try and see what is thematically relevant to all the areas where they have struggled it’s maybe that Herm Edwards didn’t appreciate that he had to tailor his style differently than he did for professional players. Really it’s just been too much of a permissive nature to everything they have done at ASU. It’s been more of requesting or asking players to be accountable or disciplined.”

“That’s the reason you end up being undisciplined on the field and one of the most penalized teams in the country, number one,” Karpman continued. “That’s why you end up being really loose with your operation in a way that leads to in-fighting with coaches and people who work for the staff turning in others for recruiting violations. That’s why you ultimately aren’t able to have a good control over who should be the leader of your program. Jayden Daniels ultimately ends up transferring out because there is a disconnect between him and your coaching staff. The theme is obvious to me, Herm Edwards is not a detail oriented and hard-driver of any sort of discipline in his program.”

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