Kenny Dillingham felt his players were not focused during Sunday’s practice.
Can you blame them?
Athletic director Ray Anderson had met with the team’s leadership counsel early Sunday morning to inform them the Sun Devils would be enacting a self-imposed bowl ban.
This stems from the NCAA investigation into alleged recruiting violations under Herm Edwards during the COVID-19 pandemic that coaches met with players during a nation-wide ban on in-person visits.
Dillingham said he was informed of the decision early this morning, five days before the Sun Devils’ first game of the 2023 season.
“To think that 18-22 year olds are going to have a good Tuesday practice is absolutely delusional,” Dillingham said. “I think the guys battled. The guys did the best they could do.”
Note: Dillingham referenced Sunday’s practice as “Tuesday” because of the Sun Devils’ short week. This practice would typically fall on a Tuesday when they play on Saturdays.
Arizona State could have enacted a postseason ban last season ahead of a 3-9 season that also included Edwards’ firing after a loss to Eastern Michigan in Week 3, but opted not to.
Now, in the first year under Dillingham, the Sun Devils will not have a chance to play postseason football as a roster featuring over 50 newcomers will be punished for the actions of a previous coaching staff that is predominantly gone.
“People are looking at us and they’re satisfied,” Dillingham said. “They’re singing for joy. They’re excited because they think there’s no way Arizona State football is going to be able to keep their mindset to compete. And that’s the challenge: It’s us (versus) us every day.”