The fifth and final key to success for the 2020 Sun Devils will of course be head coach Herm Edwards.
Unfortunately, the future of Edwards at Arizona State is still a bit up in the air. After being hit with NCAA allegations of recruiting misconduct a good chunk of the 2021 staff resigned leaving Edwards as one of the few pieces of the old crew to remain in Tempe.
ASU president Michael Crow has so far stuck by Edwards and has stated there are no current plans to terminate his employment with the university, but the situation is sticky and could change quickly.
The university still has not been served the NCAA’s official Notice of Allegations (NOA) and once that arrives a clearer picture of the program’s future will be visible. If Edwards is heavily implicated in the allegations then Crow might have no option but to fire the fifth-year head coach and roll with an interim for the 2022 season.
However, if Edwards is still in his position come August he will have to raise his coaching game to the next level. He has been fairly consistent posting records of 7-6, 8-5, and 8-5 (not counting the odd 2-2 season during the height of the pandemic).
While not bad records, Sun Devils fans want to see the program competing for the top of the Pac-12 South and consistent second or third-place finishes are no longer good enough.
A 10-win season would nearly lock a first-place finish in the division and amazingly that is not completely out of reach for ASU. There are a lot of challenges in the way, but there are some players and great staff to build a successful team around in 2022. The head coach must be the lynchpin that holds it all together and this will be the year to see if Herm Edwards is really that guy.