Connect with us

Arizona State Sun Devils

ASU football, QB Jaden Rashada have arguably their best practice this fall

One of the team's leaders, senior cornerback Jordan Clark, helped the team bounce back today from yesterday's rough news. © Mark Henle/The Republic / USA TODAY NETWORK

In the last practice open to the media before Thursday’s season opener, the ASU football team had arguably its best performance this fall.

Thank you for reading this post, don't forget to subscribe!

“(It was) probably the best practice we’ve had in the last two weeks,” ASU coach Kenny Dillingham said. “I mean, it may have been our best practice we’ve had in fall camp.”

WATCH: ASU Coach Kenny Dillingham First Game-Week Presser

The practice was highlighted by freshman quarterback Jaden Rashada, who was named the Week One starter last week.

It didn’t matter who Rashada was playing with or against, his throws were perfect all day, whether they were his strong-suited deep balls, check downs or anything in between. He had some highlight-reel plays all morning.

A strong response to yesterday

Yesterday, Dillingham expressed his emotions after one of the team’s worst practices following the news of the one-year, self-imposed bowl ban. 

“I knew today would be sh**ty when they receive horrible news on the Tuesday practice in the morning before we meet for special teams,” ASU coach Kenny Dillingham said yesterday following practice. “So to think that 18-22 year olds are gonna go out and have a good Tuesday practices is absolutely delusional. But I think the guys battled. The guys did the best they could do.”

(Dillingham says Tuesday practice because their game is on Thursday, so yesterday was normally what they would do on Tuesdays)

Today, they responded.

“(It was) a phenomenal day (that) just tells you the character of the people that we have,” Dillingham said. “I think somebody put it on social media, our kids didn’t refuse to speak to anybody yesterday because they needed to get it out, and they’ve moved on. It is what it is, life’s about how you respond. And we’re gonna be trying to do everything we can to be successful every single day. I think those guys brought it today to lean into one another, and let’s go be the best we can be every single day.”

Dillingham highlighted players like Jalin Conyers and Jordan Clark as some of the leaders of the team that regrouped everyone together, but said it was a group effort overall. Both Conyers and Clark spoke to the media yesterday. 

“They’re not going to let anything derail them from what they actually want,” Dillingham said. “And that’s just to show people that they put in the work. They want to show that they put in the work. And I think, obviously, there’s going to be emotional days, but I think their response yesterday with our players in the meeting (versus) their response today in practice is a good reflection of the direction we’re going.”

More on Rashada

Dillingham had a lot to say about Rashada today.

Firstly, he addressed whether or not they would a rotation of quarterbacks against Southern Utah or if it would just be Rashada.

“I have no clue,” Dillingham said in terms of a rotation. “I’m hoping that we win the football game. Bottom line. Whatever situation like that comes next, I couldn’t even begin to tell you.”

Rashada only need just over a week of meaningful first-team reps to win out the starting job, and he has continued to impress with his daily improvement.

“It’s drastic growth,” Dillingham said. “If you watch him in individual drills, he started understanding why to take certain drops when to take certain drops. And there’s a suddenness about it. And that rhythm and that timing is what makes quarterbacks good. And even in individual drills, you can see the confidence and the suddenness of his drops, and that correlates to practice. I mean, today was probably his best practice since he’s been at ASU in my opinion. So, that’s a testament to him, it’s a testament to (offensive coordinator Beau) Baldwin for preparing him.”

So how did Rashada grow so quickly?

“It’s a testament to the human he is, the person he is, the work ethic he put in, the resilience,” Dillingham said. “He has all those things, the intelligence, I mean, that’s a guy who’s he just learned every day.

“I think he turned every day that he failed into growth and every day that he succeeded into growth.”

Being a freshman quarterback in an offense full of veterans can be tough to lead, but Rashada has showcased his leadership skills.

“He has to lead through the work, and everybody sees the work and the want,” Dillingham said. “And I think older guys can rally behind a young guy who’s passionate that has the care factor. And I think through his knowledge, and through the work that he’s putting in, he’s slowly getting more comfortable.”

With Rashada playing in his first game Thursday, Dillingham said there is one thing he wants to see from him.

“Confidence,” Dillingham said. “I want to see him take the field confident. That’s it. He has a high talent. He has a high IQ. He has a high work ethic. If he’s confident in what he does and does it with just a confidence that he knows what he sees, that he trusts his eyes, he’s gonna have a lot of success.”

Looking ahead to Game One

Now, Dillingham and ASU will do their best to put all the bowl ban in the past when they take the field against Southern Utah on Thursday.

He wants ASU fans to come out and recognize “the adversity is behind us.” He said he gave his team one day to process it and now it’s time to move on, and he wants fans to do the same thing.

“I think all the trials that we’re facing is good for the longevity of the football team,” Dillingham said, “and we’re going to spin everything as a positive and we’re gonna be the best we can be.”

ASU coach, players express strong displeasure with team’s self-imposed bowl ban

*Get the BEST Phoenix sports insider information and exclusive content. SIGN UP HERE to unlock our premium content!*

Brendan Mau is a college sports insider and general assignment reporter for Burn City Sports. You can follow him on X via @Brendan_Mau

More in Arizona State Sun Devils