ASU Football: Phil Bennett is the coach that needs to stay

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03: Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett of the Baylor Bears during play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT
ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 03: Defensive coordinator Phil Bennett of the Baylor Bears during play against the Texas Tech Red Raiders at AT /

With Herm Edwards officially becoming the head coach of ASU football, keeping Phil Bennett should be a major priority.

Back in late November when Athletic Director Ray Anderson announced Todd Graham’s firing and shared his vision for the future of Sun Devil football with media members, he mentioned that bringing in a head coach that was willing to work with the current coordinators was a big priority.

Offensive Coordinator Billy Napier’s name was mentioned multiple times by Anderson when talking about what he thought had worked under Todd Graham, but there was very few, if any, mentions of defensive coordinator Phil Bennett.

Head coach Herm Edwards has already announced that Billy Napier will stay on as the offensive mastermind, and as an assistant head coach.

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That is a good move as Napier is young and realistically could be the next head coach after Edwards is gone.

Bennett is the coordinator that needs to stay. It was reported that Edwards met with Bennett over the weekend about staying on as the defensive coordinator and Bennett is reportedly mulling over the decision with is family.

If he stays, ASU could become one of the better Pac-12 programs, if he leaves, ASU could be in for a few more seasons of awful defense.

Since 2014, Arizona State’s defense has been one of the worst in the country. Missing tackles in the open field started to feel as normal an occurrence as waking up in the morning.

Blown coverages and a defense that was over-reliant on the offense scoring more than 30 points a game was part of the scouting report when a team would pull up Arizona State football.

That changed in 2017. Phil Bennett morphed a defense that allowed 357.4 passing yards a game and 520.5 total offensive yards per game in 2016 to a defense that allowed 268.1 passing yards a game and 447 total offensive yards per game in 2017.

Is that good? No. But it is a drastic improvement from what was only a season prior with the same defensive personnel.

If you are a Sun Devil football fan, you should be rooting for Phil Bennett to return to the team. He will continue to implement his gritty defensive mindset on a team that is a sold defense away from being a real contender in the Pac-12.

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With USC most likely losing Sam Darnold after this season, the Pac-12 South is ripe for the picking and a coaching trio of Herm Edwards, Billy Napier and Phil Bennett could be the perfect trio to get ASU to the Pac-12 championship game.