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ASU Football: New Arizona State OC Zak Hill Unintimidated by the Transition, Loves personnel

New offensive coordinator for Arizona State transitioning nicely in Tempe.
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The hiring of Zak Hill as ASU’s new offensive coordinator wasn’t seen as a splash hire.

It wasn’t talked about with intrigue that comes with some more prominent names going to bigger programs. It didn’t make the headlines that Kliff Kingsbury taking the OC job at USC did last year, or when Steve Sarkisian took the OC job at Alabama last year.

Arizona State hiring Zak Hill, who was most recently the OC and QBs coach at Boise State for the last three seasons (co-OC and QBs coach in 2016), had the potential to be a sneaky-good hire for the Devils. However, many speculated that Arizona State bringing in new coordinators on both sides of the ball could be detrimental in keeping the Herm Train rolling.

Hill, however, doesn’t believe in excuses.

“I think there’s a lot of transition all over the country, not just here,” said Hill. “There’s a lot of coaches getting in, a lot of coaches getting out…From our standpoint, Coach Edwards does a great job with the culture, the vibe…The players are bought in; always working out, always at the office.”

Even with the program going through this COVID-19 pandemic, Hill hasn’t had any issues with this transition.

“(The transition’s) been really good. Very, very easy,” said Hill. “From a coaching staff standpoint, it’s been great…Coach Edwards has made that process really easy.”

Edwards was cited as a major reason for his decision to take the job here, as well as always liking the area on recruiting trips and in general, and having a piece like Jayden Daniels to lead the offense with him. He actually fears for other coordinators that will be coming to Tempe, not so much himself.

“Having a quarterback like Jayden makes my job a whole lot easier,” said Hill. “He makes the Defensive Coordinator’s job pretty tough…I’ve always been a big fan of Arizona State, and Coach Edwards. I think having a quarterback like Jayden is a big factor in coming here.”

Hill believes that having spring camp early was crucial.

“We got a chance to play seven practices before this (pandemic), so that was good,” said Hill. “The biggest thing is just the transition of the offense. There’s different terminology, and different operations…Guys are catching on quick and excited about what’s happening.”

Hill was ecstatic about his young group of receivers to go along with proven deep-threat Frank Darby. He likes the potential of his backfield too, where he has a nice resume.

Last season at Boise State, Hill coached up true freshman running back George Holani to a breakout first season for the Broncos. Holani rushed for over 1,000 yards and put up ten total touchdowns.

He has big plans for the running back position again this year. He even specifically raved about 2020 four-star recruits Daniyel Ngata and DeaMonte Trayanum.

“Both these guys are very capable running backs that would be contributing a lot if we were playing right now in the fall,” said Hill. “From a young running backs standpoint, we’re in a good situation.”

The AP Poll didn’t give ASU any love, leaving the Sun Devils unranked in their Preseason Top 25, and the narrative of the PAC-12 South seems to be leaning towards Utah as that number two favorite behind USC.

The new offense has been in question at times, but it could be time to guess again. Another concern was the lack of experience returning to ASU on that offense. Hill, however, doesn’t see youth as a deal-breaker for this team.

“I think it’s always difficult learning a new offense,” said Hill. “Whether they’re young or not, it’s a pro-style offense; there’s a lot to it…I think guys are hungry, trying to make the best of the situation.”

An exciting culture, standout QB, high potential in the skill positions, and a great leader in Herm Edwards has Zak Hill finding himself right at home in Tempe.