February is the new start of spring. Believe it or not, Arizona State will begin their spring practices tomorrow.
After being picked to among the bottom of the Pac-12, Herm Edwards, his staff, and team exceeded a lot of expectations in putting together a 7-6 season that ended with a trip to the Las Vegas Bowl. The Sun Devils played in a lot of really close games this year, and of those six losses, only their bowl loss to Fresno State came by more than seven points.
While sitting down with Arizona State defensive coordinator Danny Gonzales last week, the Sun Devils defensive play caller shared that now that the staff has been in place for a year now, and players know the expectations and culture on the defensive side of the ball, they won’t be wasting any time once they get out on the practice field.
That includes full contact in just helmets.
“We’re going to spend more time in the spring [on tackling] than we did last year because we had some time to establish our culture and messing with the tackling portion and how we can do that.”
“For all of you guys that want to be at practice on Tuesday, we’re going to be tackling live, all the way to the ground, in just helmets.”
Now, before anyone goes off about player safety, this is going to be a controlled environment as Gonzales goes on to point out how they’ll have their former rugby coach out there, and how they’ve been meeting with over the last several months to improve on being good tacklers without pads on.
In order to be a good tackler, Gonzales points out that guys have to possess “total disregard and not care about your body,” and also shares one more thing about being a good tackler and why they’re dedicating so much time to it.
“As we go throughout spring ball, you’re going to see a lot of tackling without pads, and with pads. The other part of that is running to the football. If you miss a tackle, but you’ve got four of five guys there, and we had a lot of success with that last year.”
Before February is done, Herm Edwards and Arizona State will have their Spring Game on the 28th.
See coach Gonzales’ full comments below (the part we have quoted starts at about the 17 minute mark).