ASU football’s Kenny Dillingham wants QB room structure to push players
Arizona State football is setting up a competitive quarterback room with three newcomers in 2023.
Transfers Jacob Conover from BYU and Drew Pyne from Notre Dame joined Trenton Bouguet in the competition this offseason, and Wednesday brought another contender.
Jaden Rashada, a four-star quarterback and former Florida Gators signing, announced on social media that he will be a Sun Devil next season.
For head coach Kenny Dillingham, the gifts aren’t on the table as the venue is set up to get the best out of each competitor.
“It’s all about competition,” Dillingham told Arizona Sports’ Burns & Gambo on Wednesday.
“I tell everyone that it doesn’t matter if you’re a three-year-old starter or if you’re a real freshman or a transfer, it’s all about the competition. And if you really want to be big, you would do better to surround yourself with people who can push you to your limits… It’s my job as a coach to create a structure that challenges you and pushes you to your limit, while at the same time you’re enough comfortable to thrive in. There’s a fine line there.
Dillingham couldn’t comment specifically on Rashada, but he has since become an official Sun Devil.
Conover was a four-star recruit from Chandler High School with ASU running backs coach Shaun Aguano, Pyne started 10 games for the Fighting Irish in 2022, Bourguet won the starting gig for ASU at the end of last season and Rashada is ranked 44th overall by 247Sports in the class of 2023.
Adding Rashada to the mix will heighten the intrigue of spring training, with the annual spring game scheduled for April 15 at Sun Devil Stadium.
Dillingham said his philosophy is not to promise players anything because of the potential harm, whether it’s appeasement or breaking the promise if a change needs to be made.
“I’m going to operate saying, ‘If you come here, you’re going to work harder than anyone in the country. If you come here, I can guarantee you’re going to compete, and I can guarantee you that I’m going to do everything I can to make sure you succeed in life,” Dillingham said. “I’m not going to make any promises I can’t keep.”
Dillingham is looking to establish a culture under him after being hired as head coach on November 27. The Sun Devils went 3-9 last year and revamped most coaches.
Offensive coordinator Beau Baldwin is someone Dillingham trusts to help his quarterbacks as a veteran coach in many offensive areas. Dillingham highlighted Baldwin’s pedigree as a champion having won the 2010 FCS title as the head coach of Eastern Washington.
“When I looked at coaches, I look at people who can teach,” Dillingham said. “Basically, when you’re sitting in a meeting room, can you teach someone a concept? Can you teach them the why of something? And he’s a guy who’s obviously been a top leader, who’s a phenomenal teacher. So I think that with the quarter room, we merge a bit of what we do, I just think it’s an incredible circumstance for Arizona State.