Kenny Dillingham says bowl ban changes nothing for Arizona State in 2023
Kenny Dillingham understood why Arizona State didn’t have its best practice Sunday morning. After news the program had opted to self-impose a bowl ban, Dillingham said it would be “absolutely delusional” to think the players would be in the right headspace for practice hours later.
Monday was different.
“Phenomenal practice because they’re resilient and that’s what we’re about,” Dillingham said Monday when he met with reporters.
The Sun Devils begin the season on Thursday against Southern Utah at home. It’ll be Dillingham’s first game in charge of a program he cares deeply for. It’ll be a first look at a drastically remade ASU roster. It’ll be the debut of freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada.
But no matter what happens on the field, ASU won’t be able to compete in the postseason.
Asked Monday if that changes anything from a planning or strategic standpoint, Dillingham was direct.
“The seniors deserve the right to try to win every football game,” he said. “I firmly believe that doesn’t change anything. The seniors deserve the right to go into every football game and try to win. At this point, that’s all I can say.”
Dillingham said he’d be open to allowing a player to preserve the year with a redshirt if they wanted to return for another year when ASU can compete for the postseason.
“We haven’t even crossed that bridge, and I don’t think any senior would want to do that,” he said. “But if they did, I’d be open to it for them.”
The goal remains the same for ASU: win.
But the loss of a bowl game does potentially impact the way the Sun Devils can develop the younger players on their roster.
Bowl bids bring an extra 15 practices at the end of the year. That time often proves crucial for young guys. ASU won’t get that. And Dillingham says they won’t change how they approach the regular season to try and compensate for it.
“Unfortunately not, just because we want to try to win football games. Bottom line,” he said when asked if the lack of bowl practices could lead to more snaps for younger players during the season.
“I couldn’t even begin to process going into a game without the full intent of putting everything to win the game. I couldn’t even process that. So, no. That part does suck. That’s part of it.”
Dillingham wants the stadium to be loud on Thursday. He’s looking forward to giving fans something to cheer about again.
“The mission’s still the mission,” he said. “Be the very best you can be every single day.”