Speak of the Devils Podcast Sitdown Series: Brian Ward
Getting to know the leader of the new Devil D
TEMPE (3TV/CBS 5) -- The fresh start for Sun Devil football is much needed in many ways. On the field, the reset comes at a perfect time for the defense, which last year posted one of the most disappointing seasons in recent memory.
When new ASU head coach Kenny Dillingham was assembling his staff, he targeted a man who had mad his life miserable earlier in the year to be his defensive coordinator. As Washington State’s DC last year, Brian Ward had put together an aggressive and attacking unit that ranked among the best in the conference and left a big enough impression that it landed him a new job back home in his native Arizona. Now in Tempe, Ward will look to replicate that success and make the hometown fans happy.
In this episode, Brian and I discuss returning to the Valley, his defensive philosophies, his coaching influences, spring practice goals, his brief (but undefeated) pro boxing career, Valley burritos, and much more.
LISTEN & SUBSCRIBE
Recent Sitdown Series Episodes
Linebacker Kyle Soelle: Kyle and I discuss the highs and lows of his Sun Devil career, his preparation for the NFL Draft, what he thinks of the new era of ASU football, his legacy, and much more.
Safety Chris Edmonds: Chris and I discuss growing up in the football-crazed South, his journey from the FCS to Power 5, stepping up as a team leader, the new defensive scheme, how he got the “Captain Smooth” nickname, and much more.
Wide Receiver Giovanni Sanders: We discuss the hard road to Tempe and the lessons learned along the way, betting on yourself, the reinvigorated vibe around the program, the 2023 receivers, and more.
Catcher Ryan Campos: We discuss his All-American debut, the journey from Wildcat signee to Sun Devil star, the details of managing a pitching staff, who has the nastiest pitch on the team, and much more.
First Baseman: Ethan Long: Ethan and I discuss his preparation for a bounceback season, his plate approach, favorite home run, taking on a leadership role, and much more.
Former RB & new Manager of Player Development D.J. Foster: We discuss his new role and why he came back, his favorite memories of his playing days, how he can help the program Activate the Valley, and much more.
Head softball coach Megan Bartlett: We discuss why she came to Tempe, the key lessons learned over her playing and coaching career, what makes Sun Devil softball special, the makeup of the 2023 squad, and so much more.
Offensive Lineman Ben Coleman: We discuss why he came to ASU, his career, what fans may not realize about NIL, why he’s a self-described foodie and some of his favorite spots, the traits needed to succeed in the trenches, how the Damar Hamlin situation impacted him, and so much more.
The Bourguet Brothers: We discuss growing up in a sports-crazed household, from those backyard games to the high school heroics, how flag and 7-on-7 football helped mold them into FBS players, the lessons from their college careers, helping raise the profile of local players, and so much more.
Swim & Dive Head Coach Bob Bowman: We discuss the significance of the ranking, the process of rebuilding the program, his coaching career, mentoring Michael Phelps and the similarities between him and a current ASU super sophomore, and so much more.
Tight End Jalin Conyers: We discuss why he came back, the lessons learned from a tough 2022 season, the potential of the TEs in Kenny Dillingham’s offense, a player’s view of NIL and the portal, and so much more.
NIL talk with Sun Angel Collective’s Brittani Willett: We take a deep dive into the inner workings of the collective and its process, examining how a dollar goes from donation to student athlete, how the group is navigating the largely unregulated and constantly evolving landscape, the challenges facing ASU in the NIL space, the strategies to activate the Valley, and so much more.
Defensive Line Coach Vince Amey: We discuss why he came back to Tempe, how the staff will look to activate the Valley, lessons from the Rose Bowl run of 96, how the Devil D will look next fall, what he looks for with his DL, and so much more.
Assistant Head Coach/Special Teams Coordinator Charlie Ragle: We discuss why he gave up a head coaching job to come back to the Valley, how he set Dillingham on the path to coaching, the staff’s plans to activate the Valley, local recruiting strategy, and so much more.
Guard DJ Horne: We discuss his promising debut as a Devil, how growing up in the North Carolina basketball scene prepared him for college ball, the strengths and areas of growth for this year’s team, his goals, and so much more.
Point Guard Frankie Collins: Frankie and I discuss his basketball origin story, balling with Marcus Bagley in grade school, his experience in the NCAA Tournament, how close this year’s Sun Devils are to returning to the postseason, and much more
Head Women’s Basketball Coach Natasha Adair: Natasha and I discuss her approach to building successful programs, the impact of leading with love, empowering players both on and off the court, the exciting talent on the 2022-2023 roster, and so much more.
Associate Athletic Director for Football Administration Tony DeFeo: We discuss what brought him to Tempe, what his background adds to the program, the coaching search, the quickly changing landscape of the sport & ASU’s place within it, the value of analytics, and so much more.
Striker Nicole Douglas: ASU’s all-time leading scorer discusses her record breaking career, the growth in her game and in the program, the difference between soccer here and in England, and so much more.
Linebackers Connor and Kyle Soelle: The brothers discuss what it means to play alongside each other for their hometown university, the pride they carry with them as homegrown players, how deep their brotherly competitive streak runs, what to expect out of the defense this fall, and so much more.
Quarterback Emory Jones: Emory and I discuss why he chose to become a Sun Devil, the lessons he learned from playing in the SEC, his fit in the offense, his leadership style, building rapport with his receivers, and so much more.
Legendary WR Jaelen Strong: Jaelen and I look back at his incredible ASU career, the hard truths and painful lessons from his time in the NFL, why mentoring matters, the critical importance of mental health, the state of his relationship with ASU, what he’d like to see from his alma mater towards former players, and so much more.
Defensive Back Jordan Clark: Jordan and I discuss an eventful offseason, how the secondary stacks up after losing four starters, breakout players to watch for, his growth as a Sun Devil, the team’s growing chip on their shoulder, and much more.
Linebackers Coach Chris Claiborne: The former All-American breaks down the key players in his group, recruiting in the NIL age, his development as a young coach, and much more.
Offensive Line Coach Mike Cavanaugh: We discuss the position battles, trench technique, recruiting linemen, breakout players, and much more.
Strength & Conditioning Coach Joe Connolly: Connolly discusses the team’s gains this offseason, how leadership is forged in the weight room, the process of developing athletes, latest trends and new frontiers in sports science, and much more.
Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Wade: Wade discusses the lessons from last year, dealing with departures, breakout candidates, building rapport with a new quarterback, beating his alma mater (yet again), and much more.
Running Backs Coach Shaun Aguano: He discusses the 2022 stable of backs, their roles in the new offense, the pressure of helping a developing passing game, how NIL and the portal have changed coaching, strengthening local recruiting, how he’s evolved as a coach, and much more.
Athletic Director Ray Anderson: On this episode, Anderson goes in depth on ASU’s NIL strategy, the status of the NCAA investigation, key wins over Arizona, critical Pac-12 and NCAA issues, the next major changes in college sports, and much more.
Defensive Line Coach Robert Rodriguez: We discuss his group of linemen, how NIL and the portal have changed coaching, recruiting, how he’s evolved as a coach, and much more.
Defensive Coordinator Donnie Henderson: We discuss this new tenure as Edwards’ DC, why he came back, scheme changes, the returning and new personnel, spring practice goals, and more.
Offensive Coordinator Glenn Thomas: We discuss why he took the job, scheme, philosophy, playcalling, QBs, revitalizing the passing game, and much more.
Defensive Backs Coach Aaron Fletcher: We discuss his coaching journey, his influences and philosophies, playing DB in an era of offense, the 2022 Devils DBs and much more.
Head Coach Herm Edwards: We dive into the issues of the 2021 season, his staff’s turnover, the issues facing recruiting, how the 2022 squad is shaping up, how the NCAA investigation will impact the program and his legacy, and much more.
Defensive Lineman B.J. Green: The walk-on turned sack leader discusses his impressive debut year, why he passed up scholarship offers to walk-on across the country, robotics, and more.
Inside Sun Devil Sports Medicine: Dr. Anikar Chhabra and Dr. Joanne Vogel give you an inside look the wholistic approach ASU takes regarding the well-being and recovery of its student athletes.
Hall of Famer DB Mike Haynes: Haynes discusses his unlikely road to ASU, the tough love from Frank Kush, the desire he had to play WR, his favorite memories as a Sun Devil, his work today helping players transition out of the game, raising awareness healthy living, and more.
Hall of Fame Safety David Fulcher: The legend discusses his illustrious Sun Devil career, what his enshrinement in the Hall of Fame means, his charitable work, his time with the Bengals, his views on Herm Edwards and the current Sun Devils, and much more.
Copyright 2023 KTVK/KPHO. All rights reserved.