Kenny Dillingham’s voice is noticeably hoarse and understandably so.
In his first full practice at the helm of the Arizona State football program, Dillingham set the tone quickly with an up-tempo and spirited environment. Hip hop flowed in and out of the speakers, but it was Dillingham’s voice that occasionally made an appearance that signaled a new era has begun.
“I got a microphone sometimes because my vocal cords get gassed pretty quick,” Dillingham said.
Music leading the way
While music wasn’t playing for the entirety of the practice, there were few quiet moments on the field. Songs such as “Under Pressure” and “Single Ladies (Put A Ring On It)” were some of the cues for different competitions throughout the practice.
“We have music playing that tells us to do different sorts of competition because that’s really what it’s about,” Dillingham said. “We want to compete, we want intensity about ourselves. Our goal today was to own the ball. That means you have to tackle well and give effort to tackle well and take care of the football.”
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Picking the competition
When it comes to selecting who would be in each of the competitions, the players didn’t have a clue on if their name would be called and had to be ready at any given moment. Dillingham meandered throughout each group in the practice and carefully observed each of the players.
“I kind of pick it off of who has competed earlier in the day,” Dillingham said. “I get a feel for who is in competition with each other earlier in practice and say, OK, if you guys were talking crap and competing earlier, let’s do it in front of everybody because talk is cheap.”
Emphasis on discipline
ASU averaged 7.5 penalties per game last season and has long had issues with discipline. With a lot of the team being new, Dillingham established that the team will pay more attention to details, including how the players get in the huddle. After the team finished stretching, Dillingham had the team break out of the huddle three times to get it right.
Even after a competition on special teams, Dillingham got on the mic to let the players know that there was an illegal formation and it would have been a costly move.
More:Arizona State spring football analysis: what’s been gained, lost on offense
With more space for the media to view the different groups throughout the field in Dillingham’s era, there were more opportunities to view the wide receivers.
New wide receiver Xavier Guillory stood out in several drills and competitions. During a one-on-one period in front of the entire team, the Idaho State transfer went up against defensive back Isaiah Johnson and easily won with his speed.
“It’s been two months of training so me and the DBs every day just talking back and forth with each other,” Guillory said. “But not today, we got to compete a little bit and show the coach what we can do.”