ASU has ‘worst practice by far’ of spring ball, OL Coleman out for 1st half of season

Mar 28, 2023, 6:27 PM

Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham addresses his team after a spring football practice in Te...

Arizona State head coach Kenny Dillingham addresses his team after a spring football practice in Tempe, Ariz., on March 14, 2023. (Jake Anderson/Arizona Sports)

(Jake Anderson/Arizona Sports)

TEMPE — The Arizona State Sun Devils football team had its worst-ever practice in the Kenny Dillingham era on Tuesday.

Albeit only spring practice No. 7, the new ASU head coach has already established a culture that breeds competition and passion, which was lacking in what was only the fourth session in full pads.

“That was our worst practice by far, not even close,” Dillingham said. “Energy, passion — it just wasn’t there like it has been in prior days.

“It’s just noticeably different,” he added. “We had a few of our leaders who were banged up today, so we held them and you could see that their passionate energy — our team was looking for (it).”

The coaching staff brought the team together a couple of times early on in practice in order to bring up the energy levels up, but that only lasted for the first few periods.

And at the end of the day, Dillingham isn’t afraid to tell his team exactly what he thinks, which shouldn’t come as a surprise given his straightforward style and preference of open communication.

“I think you just tell them the truth: it’s a bad practice, not good enough,” he said. “I think people just want to know what the expectation is.

“Today was the first day that I can leave the field and say it wasn’t good enough. … But you can only give so many pep talks and motivational speeches and little tricky things to motivate people at some point. They’ve got to want to practice.”

The injury bug has already begun to bite the Sun Devils, with one presumed starting offensive lineman already being ruled out for the first half of the season in Ben Coleman.

Dillingham announced that Coleman, a graduate transfer from Cal, is dealing with a lower-leg injury and won’t be back until “toward the end of the season, middle-season, somewhere in there.”

The loss at left guard is a huge blow for Arizona State, as the team already went through having to fill the position when four-year starter LaDarius Henderson transferred to Michigan this offseason.

“We (needed Ben),” Dillingham said. “The left guard position is a position that right now, we need somebody to step up.

“We need somebody to step up and we need somebody to step in, one of the two and everybody knows what I mean by that, step in. Either step up or step in but that’s the nature of the beast nowadays.”

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