Arizona State’s Kenny Dillingham critiques himself over play-calling vs. USC
Sep 26, 2023, 11:17 AM
(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)
After getting shut out by Fresno State in Week 3, the Arizona State Sun Devils were desperate to light a spark in their offense ahead of their Week 4 matchup against No. 5 USC.
Given the task at hand, head coach Kenny Dillingham took matters into his own hands.
Taking over for Beau Baldwin as the new play-caller on Saturday, Dillingham implemented an aggressive, yet creative gameplan that kept USC on its heels for most of the game.
The Sun Devils ultimately lost 42-28, but it was the team’s highest point total of the season.
With half of their remaining schedule against ranked opponents, the Sun Devils know they can improve offensively if they want to remain competitive in these games.
“We played a lot better, but there is a difference between playing better and playing good, and you can’t be satisfied with mediocre,” Dillingham told reporters Monday. “Better is nowhere to be confused with good, and we’ve got a long way to go to get to where I feel like the standard of an offense is.”
Dillingham heavily included running back Cam Skattebo into his gameplan, utilizing him in multiple roles and making him USC’s least favorite player on Saturday.
Skattebo rushed for 111 rushing yards on 20 carries and added 79 receiving yards on four catches, scoring two touchdowns. He also completed two passes for 42 yards and punted a ball 53 yards.
The Sun Devils recorded 353 total offensive yards, the second most in a game this season for the team.
Although ASU put up some of its best offensive numbers of the season under Dillingham’s play-calling, the 33-year-old coach may not satisfied with the outcome but is thrilled with the team’s work ethic and growth.
“You should never feel satisfied on a Saturday night if you don’t win the football game. But you can still understand the growth that happened when you wake up in the morning and you understand you got better and closer to where you want to be,” Dillingham said. “There’s no easy way in life if you don’t work, it’s that simple.”
Dillingham acknowledged the emotions that pile on throughout the game, from pondering what he could do better to staying poised.
“I’m always going to be my biggest critic. Whenever I’m watching a game, I’m looking for ways I can improve and be better,” Dillingham said. “Could I have maybe put our guys in a better position … could I have sequenced a three-play set better on a 2nd-and-11… all those scenarios I look at how can I be better.
“Taking the emotion out of it at times when we have those big moments that maybe don’t go our way and staying poised. It’s something I’ve got to improve on.”
Arizona State will hit the road for the first time this season when it takes on the California Golden Bears (2-2) on Saturday.