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Despite new atmosphere in ASU football, questions still remain after Spring Game

The Saturday game was defined by some surprise offensive performances and new attitudes under first-year head coach Kenny Dillingham


"Bussin' with the Boys" podcast co-host William Compton holds the "Battle of the Boys" spring championship trophy while celebrating with the Maroon Team at Sun Devil Stadium on Saturday, April 15, 2023. 

When a month of ASU football practice concluded with the annual spring game Saturday, the quarterback battle still seemed far from over, but standouts emerged as a different team morale took hold of Sun Devil Stadium in front of fans for the first time since last fall.

In the intrasquad scrimmage, Maroon defeated Gold 23-15 after the 19th annual Pat's Run, a 4.2 mile race to honor Pat Tillman, a former ASU linebacker who then played for the Arizona Cardinals before enlisting in the U.S. Army in 2002 and being killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan.

Despite the heat, the atmosphere on the sidelines remained cool and relaxed as fans got to see the new regime under head coach Kenny Dillingham in action for the first time. The two intrasquad teams were coached with guest appearances from NFL offensive lineman Taylor Lewan, who coached the Gold team, while his "Bussin' With The Boys" Barstool podcast co-host and NFL linebacker, Will Compton coached the winning Maroon side.

READ MORE: May the best man win: ASU quarterbacks battling for starting role in spring ball

The Maroon team was quarterbacked by redshirt senior Trenton Bourguet and redshirt freshman Bennett Meredith. Redshirt sophomore quarterback and Notre Dame transfer Drew Pyne showed arm strength and freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada, the highly-touted recruit, has the talent, but still needs plenty of refining in his game.

"We just need to keep learning," Pyne said. "Out of the 15 practices of spring ball with all these new transfers, and new coaching staff, I think this team and this entire program has gone as hard as we could."

Bourguet's ability to get the ball out of his hands quickly while having an above-average understanding of the playbook was his strength all Spring, and he showed the same prowess Saturday.

One of the most talented position groups throughout spring ball was the wide receivers. Whoever the quarterback will be by September, it will not be hard to find an open receiver with the amount of talent on the roster.

Redshirt junior wide receiver Elijhah Badger seems to be an option as of now, while redshirt junior Xavier Guillory has been one of the more impressive transfers during spring ball. Two other transfer wide receivers, graduate student Melquan Stovall and redshirt junior Troy Omeire, are also competing for playing time. 

READ MORE: New ASU wide receiver Xavier Guillory sees ASU football as proving ground

Redshirt junior tight end Jalin Conyers scored one touchdown and needed at least three guys to bring him down Saturday. 

"It's amazing to be out here again," Conyers said. "I finished last season, and I honestly felt like I had so much more to give. So being able to come out here and do what we got to do is super fun."

Another surprise on offense was junior running back Cameron Skattebo, who transferred from Sacramento State in the offseason. He was inevitable, scoring a rushing touchdown and collecting over 100 all-purpose yards while moving the ball upfield almost every time it touched his hands.

On the defensive side of the ball, two players particularly stood out: redshirt junior cornerback Ro Torrence and junior defensive tackle BJ Green. Both players made their presence known all game, with an interception to show for Torrence, while Green was disruptive.

One of the biggest questions throughout spring that have surely now been answered is the team morale and culture under Dillingham. One of the biggest mantras he has pushed throughout practice is more physical toughness, and the players are buying in. 

"It was a good environment. The guys had a lot of fun. Football is fun," Dillingham said. 

READ MORE: Arizona native and ASU alumnus Kenny Dillingham to be next head football coach

Dillingham expressed disappointment about the low number of fans that showed up to Sun Devil Stadium.

"I was expecting more; to be honest, I'm kind of disappointed," Dillingham said. "We say we want to be a football town, right? It was a good crowd, but it's not what a football town should be."

Edited by Walker Smith, Piper Hansen and Shane Brennan.

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Vinny DeangelisSports Reporter

Vincent Deangelis is a full-time reporter for the sports department at The State Press. He has previously worked for Arizona PBS and 

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