Why was legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards discussed during Pac-12 football media day?
Herm Edwards was one of the first Black recruits LaVell Edwards recruited out of high school.
LOS ANGELES — During Pac-12 football media day Friday, there were a multitude of topics covered by the league’s coaches.
Some were unexpected.
For example, Arizona State coach Herm Edwards was asked about legendary BYU coach LaVell Edwards and his role in helping revolutionize college football through the forward pass.
“I’m glad you mentioned his name,” Herm Edwards said.
Herm Edwards was one of the first Black prospects LaVell Edwards recruited out of high school. Herm Edwards took a recruiting visit to Provo but he ended up signing with California.
“It’s funny because later on when I played, I want to say the Japan Bowl, Hula Bowl, one of those deals, (LaVell) was an assistant coach for one of those teams. We laughed and said, ‘Finally get to coach me now, Coach, and I get to play for you, right?’” Herm Edwards said.
“Great man. Had a vision. You’re right, that was kind of the deal of college football was kind of looking this way, and BYU, they had the number of quarterbacks going through there, Steve Young being one of them, a good friend of mine, and other guys obviously. He was a little ahead of the curve, he was. Great man. We all miss him. Great football coach.”
LaVell Edwards passed away in 2016 after becoming one of the winningest coaches in college football history.
This season, the Sun Devils have a BYU connection on the coaching staff. Herm Edwards hired former Cougar tight end, and former NFL head coach, Brian Billick as an offensive analyst.
“I don’t know if you guys know, but Brian was at BYU when I left Cal and went to San Diego State so I played against him in college, So we all kind of go back together,” Herm Edwards told reporters Friday.
“But it’s another set of eyes. Our offense has changed somewhat from last year a little bit. It will be interesting to see how that kind of looks for us, but it’s good to have him in the building. It’s just another set of eyes, more information. He’s excited. He’s been in and out of the building … he’ll be here for camp. We obviously show him the video all the time. He’s well aware of what we’re trying to do.”
After playing at Cal, Herm Edwards eventually transferred to San Diego State. BYU and SDSU played that season, with Billick lining up for the Cougars and Edwards for the Aztecs.
BYU won, 8-0, in San Diego.
Herm Edwards remembered that Gifford Nielsen was the Cougars’ quarterback that day.
“It was a low-scoring game, I know that. Neither team got over 10 points, I don’t think. They beat us. I can remember it was a very physical game. We had a pretty good defense,” Herm Edwards recalled.
“We played a lot of what we do now, cat coverage, man-to-man. They had a lot of talented receivers. We did a pretty good job of defending those guys, but it was a low-scoring affair. It wasn’t like in today’s world, 30 to 40. I don’t think any team got to 15 points.”
Told the final score was 8-0, Herm Edwards said, “There you go. That’s a fan favorite, 8-0, right?”
Utah coach Kyle Whittingham was asked about the impact LaVell Edwards made in his life. Whittingham played under Edwards at BYU from 1978-81.
“I was able to be a graduate assistant for him a few years later. Great person, great coach. It was a great opportunity to learn from him,” Whittingham said.
“There’s really three head coaches that I’ve gathered knowledge and information from that really have molded me. That’s LaVell, Ron McBride, and Urban Meyer. I had a chance to work for all three of those guys. Terrific coaches. Each had their sets of strengths. As far as me as an Xs and Os guy, a football coach in general, my father (Fred Whittingham, Sr.) was the biggest influence on me. Had the opportunity to play for him in college. Best defensive football coach I’ve ever been around. Between him, those three head coaches, that kind of molded me into what I am today.”