Offensive coordinator Zak Hill will bring a unique approach to his team’s offense in his first season with ASU.
Last season, former ASU offensive coordinator Rob Likens called plays from the stand. But, with Likens now at the University of Miami, Hill will coordinate ASU’s offense from the sidelines in 2020.
Hill, who came to ASU from Boise State, was able to test out this new coaching technique during a mock game hosted by the team last Saturday at Sun Devil Stadium.
During the scrimmage, ASU head coach Herm Edwards created an opportunity for his staff to go over the mechanics of a game. Throwing his new staff into this environment, Edwards had the offensive and defensive units on opposite sides to better simulate substitution patterns.
“It was the first chance we had as coaches to hear what was coming out of the box, from the touchline, coordinating that with players and staff,” Edwards said. “It was very important that we included it because you hate not having a dress rehearsal before you play a real game of football.”
Although Hill said he could always go to the stand for a bird’s eye view of the game, he liked being on the sidelines during the scrimmage and would prefer to stay there during games.
“I think it will be a good opportunity for me to connect with Jayden (Daniels) and the offense, just kind of being a resource for all those guys there,” Hill said of being on. the key. “You are a bit isolated in the box. It’s easier to think about, but you’re not as well connected.
Although second-year quarterback Jayden Daniels was pleased with the offense’s performance during the mock game, he noted the unit still had room for improvement.
“I think we’ve done a decent job of moving from practice to a playing setting,” Daniels said. “I think we had to do it to clean up some operational things. I just go back into this mode of, ‘OK, this is what we’re going to get into in a few weeks.’
Daniels said having Hill next to him between sets during games would improve their “on-the-fly game plan”, and it would increase the “level of communication and trust factor” between the two.
The second noted that last season there were communication issues between him and Likens because Likens would “see something different from what I see on the pitch.” But this year, Daniels believes the ability to “talk to Coach Hill right after the streak” on the sidelines will limit the potential number of mistakes made in a game.
The team is looking to improve an offense that ranked only 95th in total yards per game and 96th in points per game last year.
Edwards noted that the defense was “a bit upset” due to the attack’s success throughout the game.
“The attack did some fun things to watch,” Edwards said. “This offense is brand new, and I think this Saturday you saw signs of things to come. It was kind of one of those offers where I smiled.
ASU is set to travel to take on the No. 20 USC Trojans in the Pac-12 season opener on Nov. 7 at 10 a.m. MST.
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