Kenny Dillingham as an Arizona State HC candidate? It may not be crazy…

·4 min read

Over the last few days, the head coaching vacancy for the Arizona State Sun Devils has played out as one would typically expect. With Herm Edwards shown the door while literally walking off of the football field on Saturday night, the ensuing hours and days have been spent with media outlets cobbling together lists of potential candidates to take over as the next head man in Tempe.

There’s one thing that I didn’t expect in all of this. I didn’t expect for the Oregon Ducks to be involved.

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Usually, prominent teams like the Ducks are used to being mentioned in coaching vacancies, as top coordinators are poached to run their own teams. We saw it with Andy Avalos, and Marcus Arroyo, and Joe Moorhead, and several others over the years. This coaching staff, however, is so new, and so young, that I thought Oregon might be spared from having coordinators mentioned in coaching rumors.

Nonetheless, offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham’s name has been mentioned in the ranks of guys who could potentially take over at Arizona State.

Seems crazy, right? He’s been an OC before, but this is his first stint as a play-caller, and the top offensive mind on a team with a defensive head coach, and he’s only got three games under his belt. Doesn’t that feel premature?

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It may be, but Dillingham and his offense have been impressive early on. With an explosion on the stat sheet in the last two weeks, the Ducks’ young and aggressive OC has shown an ability to mix schemes, throw numerous personnel packages out there with success, and overall transform what was viewed as a boring Oregon offense in a matter of months. On top of all of this, you have to consider the Arizona factor for Dillingham — the 32-year-old was born in Phoenix, and he attended Arizona State and worked with the Sun Devils as an offensive analyst from 2014-15.

It’s not just us throwing Dillingham’s name out there in the mix. There are numerous pieces from high-ranking media outlets speculating as to who the next man might be in Tempe. Check out this excerpt from The Athletic’s article titled ‘Sleeping giant? Arizona State needs Kenny Dillingham to wake it from its coma:’

Arizona State doesn’t need a coach with a familiar name to trick fans into thinking it did something with this hire. It needs someone it can grow with.

The 32-year-old Dillingham fits the bill in every way. The offensive coordinator at Oregon is an Arizona native who not only has ties to the Grand Canyon State but also is the owner of an ASU degree and an impressive resume. His age isn’t a hurdle. It is an asset, especially in a football culture in which young, offensive-minded coaches are in style and have found success at every level. He loves Arizona and wouldn’t be quick to bolt from The Valley once he builds something.

Not convinced? Here’s an excerpt from 247Sports:

If ASU went totally to a young up-and-coming guy who’s a coordinator, I think maybe Kenny Dillingham at Oregon. He’s someone who has deep ties and probably would have a lot of booster support. He’s from Scottsdale. Kind of the old money crowd, big boosters, I think there’s going to be a push for him as a sort of an out-of-the-box candidate if they go with someone who’s really keen on young players, NIL and a lot of these things going on right now.

It may seem like I’m trying to push Dillingham out the door, but let me be clear, that is not my intention here. Rather, the goal of this article is to offer a bit of a wake-up call for Oregon fans, similar to the one that I had recently as I realized the realness of this situation.

When Dan Lanning hired Dillingham, I knew that in a matter of years, whether it’s 2 or 5, there was a good chance that Oregon’s hot-shot OC would be poached by a bigger school to be the head man. That’s how the college football world works anymore.

I never thought the poaching may start before he’s even coached through half of a season at Oregon. That’s something I didn’t have on my bingo card.

List

Oregon OC Kenny Dillingham is just one of many names ASU will look at in its coaching search

Story originally appeared on Ducks Wire