Nesta Jade Silvera said he didn’t want his postgame press availability to turn into a blame game geared toward former head coach Herm Edwards. “I feel like since I got here, this team has been a band of brothers,” he told reporters after a 34-13 loss to Utah Saturday night. “You know, they welcomed me with open arms.” And Edwards obviously had something to do with that tight-knit culture.

But Arizona State decided to part ways with Edwards after a 30-21 loss to Eastern Michigan a week ago, leaving the locker room without the head coach who recruited most of them to Tempe.

“It was a tough week for us,” said quarterback Emory Jones. “Losing a head coach, someone that we trust, and put in a lot of hard work throughout the weeks with him… It’s a tough situation.”

But Jones thought the Sun Devils handled it as well as they could. The energy was different in practice with interim coach and former running backs coach Shaun Aguano running the show.

“Coach Aguano, he worked us this week,” said Silvera. Everything he brought in, new juice, new energy, we really appreciated it. We reacted to it well as a team: offense, defense, special teams, all three phases. We had a stacked three days of practice, a fourth one if you count Friday, and we just didn’t capitalize on a great week of practice, because that’s what we truly had. We still believe in everything Coach Aguano has been saying, the team’s still intact, we still know what we’ve got to do, and we still got a lot more to play for.”

Jones agreed, saying the Sun Devils still have eight games to play and they intend to make the most of them.

Everyone knows that everything won’t change in one game,” he said. “I feel like we just have to build off last week and keep being better.”

Utah was up 24-6 at the halftime break. It outgained ASU 465-267 for the game. On one side, you saw a veteran-coached team that could lean on its leaders and fall back on tried-and-tested schemes. Utah knew what it wanted to do, how to do it, and it executed. Arizona State was significantly more raw.

But Jones believes they are better than they were a week ago when they suffered a gut check at home.

“I think we were definitely a better football team this week than we were last week,” Jones said. “I think we played with a lot of heart and a lot of fight. We’ve got to execute better. I’ve got to play better. We just need to stay on top of everything that we do and just focus.

“Like I said earlier, nothing will be changed in a game or one week. But I do think the changes that Coach Aguano made will be very good for our team and the rest of the season and we will definitely improve game by game.”

The Sun Devils have just as tough a test next week, when they hit the road to face No. 6 USC (4-0, 1-0 Pac-12) in Los Angeles.