With a new, first-time head coach roaming the sidelines, there is more excitement around the Arizona State program than in recent years.

Of course, playing for an ill-fitting head coach under the specter of looming sanctions is bound to dull any program.

All eyes will be on Kenny Dillingham and his infectious attitude. ASU’s spring game already has a measure of good vibes, as it takes place following a run to celebrate the life of Pat Tillman. Now, for the first time in forever, Arizona State has the chance to build off that energy and momentum.

Here are 5 things to watch heading into Arizona State’s spring game Saturday…

How do the Sun Devils respond to Kenny Dillingham?

This will be Arizona State’s first time reacting to its new head coach and his fire personality in a live-action setting.

Sun Devils supporters want to see Dillingham in action, as the youthful exuberance seems pretty catchy. It’ll be interesting to see if Dillingham can run a tight ship in his first head coaching job, or if the excitement cup will runneth over.

One thing is clear: ASU fans should be ecstatic that the Herm Edwards era is over and a new day, with a familiar face, has begun.

For Dillingham, with his first spring ball winding down, the focus is on being crisp and sharp Saturday.

“I think the guys are trying to do what we ask,” he said. “I just think some of this stuff takes time to train the mind to say, ‘Hey, it’s 2nd-and-5. Watch freeze cadence. Hey, the ball is on the plus 37 (yard line), and it’s 3rd-and-2. That’s not a real 3rd down because they’re going to go for it on 4th down. That’s a free down, shot alert.’ I am pleased with how we’re working, but we still have a long way to go.”

Can the offensive line stay healthy?

At this point, Arizona State needs an offensive fireworks show less than it needs to simply make it through the day healthy.

In late March, the Sun Devils declared what is certainly their most costly loss so far this calendar year, with Dillingham announcing that Cal transfer offensive lineman Ben Coleman (lower leg injury) will be out until the “end of the season, middle of the season, somewhere in there.” His entire year is in jeopardy.

That’s not a loss this ASU team can weather.

Sophomore Danny Valenzuela and senior Ralph Frias have rotated at the left guard spot that star LaDarius Henderson vacated when he transferred to Michigan, a spot that Coleman was expecting to fill.

One of the things I’m curious to see is the maturation of former highly rated recruit Bram Walden, who transferred from Oregon as one of Dillingham’s top transfer portal recruits. He’s battling for a starting tackle position with Isaia Glass.

Can Trenton Bourguet cement his candidacy?

For the time being, incumbent starter Trenton Bourguet has held on to the starting quarterback position.

But what could the spring game mean for Drew Pyne and Jaden Rashada?

Pyne is closer to the starting gig currently, but much can change during the summer, when Rashada’s grasp of the offense might be able to catch up with his strong arm and mobility.

If Bourguet can put a big day together, and if Pyne can shine in his time, Dillingham might be able to sit with Rashada and preach the virtue of some seasoning.

Lest we forget, Bourguet had 3 300-yard games in the season’s final 6 weeks, shocking productivity from a passing game that was previously flat under Emory Jones. A former walk-on from Tucson, Bourguet completed more than 71% of his passes and finished a passer rating of 144.3. That’s not bad!

Nor was Pyne, who threw for more than 2,000 yards with 22 touchdowns and 6 interceptions while leading Notre Dame to an 8-2 record as a starter.

The spring game should go a long way in reassuring Sun Devils fans about their bountiful options.

“For me, I just worry about myself, not how many guys are in the room,” Bourguet said at the end of March, according to the Arizona Republic’s Michelle Gardner. “Obviously we’re all trying to push each other to be great. At the end of the day, there is going to be one guy that plays, but we’re all still Sun Devils. We all want to win, so we’re going to compete.”

Who joins Bourguet in the backfield?

With prolific running back Xazavian Valladay off to the NFL after a big year, the Sun Devils have a big hole in the backfield alongside Bourguet — or whoever ends up in the saddle this year.

Saturday will provide a nice glimpse at the three main candidates to assume the role of primary rock-toter: Sacramento State transfer Cam Skattebo, Cal transfer DeCarlos Brooks and sophomore Tevin White.

Skattebo’s production with the Hornets last year might just be too much to ignore: He won Big Sky offensive player of the year honors after rushing for 1,382 yards and 7 scores.

But Brooks started turning on the jets in recent weeks, and each of them should get their fair share of time.

Will the defense keep up the intensity?

With Dillingham at the helm, the former Oregon offensive coordinator who led the Ducks to a big year last year will challenge the Sun Devils to step up on the defensive side, as he has all spring.

And for a reason: The Sun Devils were dreadful last year.

Arizona State allowed 31.42 points per game last year, 9th in the league. The Sun Devils were particularly porous against the run, allowing 188.08 yards per game.

Even if the experienced quarterbacks paint the field and even if Rashada flashes his arm, the defense will feel settled if it can stop the run and keep up the energy.

“Practice has been a lot more intense than we used to,” senior defensive back Chris Edmonds told reporters this week. “But this is good for us. This is what we need. It’s been a lot of fun and a lot of energy. Coach Dillingham, he’s on 10 at all times and that just helps bring energy to us. We just reciprocate.”