Dillingham using ASU’s open practice on Saturday ‘to motivate our players’

Mar 29, 2024, 8:19 AM | Updated: Mar 30, 2024, 12:29 pm

Kenny Dillingham during a game...

Arizona State Sun Devils head coach Kenny Dillingham gestures to a player during the college football game between the Arizona Wildcats and the Arizona State Sun Devils on November 25, 2023 at Mountain America Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. (Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(Photo by Kevin Abele/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Arizona State football will open its practice to the public on Saturday to wrap up the team’s first week of spring ball.

The open practice starts at 9:30 a.m. on the Bill Kajikawa practice fields, next to the Verde Dickey Dome at 511 South Rural Road in Tempe. It will be the first time the team practices in full pads.

“Until real pads get on Saturday, this is all smoke and mirrors up front,” head coach Kenny Dillingham told reporters after practice on Thursday. “Pads get on … real football begins.”

How much does he plan on ramping up the intensity for the open practice?

“Significantly,” Dillingham said. “Why do you think I want the fans out here? You think these kids want to get beat in front of fans? No, there’s a science behind it. … I’m using our fans to motivate our players.”

The open practice announcement comes after Dillingham posted Thursday an open invitation for all former ASU players to come to any practices.

Former ASU defensive lineman Renell Wren — who had 81 tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss and three sacks from 2015-18 before the Chicago Bears selected him in the NFL Draft — plans to take Dillingham up on the offer.

Speaking of defensive line, Dillingham said the improved depth and size of this year’s group has been apparent through the first two practices. His goal for the group is to play as a unit rather than as individuals in addition to giving “elite effort.”

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Dillingham using ASU’s open practice on Saturday ‘to motivate our players’