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ASU football coach Kenny Dillingham faces off against Oregon's Dan Lanning in a chess match

Arizona State's Kenny Dillingham and Oregon's Dan Lanning face off in a Pac-12 showdown after working together last season.

Last Saturday, an exciting football game took place between Kenny Dillingham and Chip Kelly, with Dillingham outmaneuvering his coaching counterpart, who is twice his senior. This week's upcoming matchup promises to be an even more intriguing chess match. On the other side, Dan Lanning, a long-time friend and coaching colleague of Dillingham, will lead No. 6 Oregon (9-1, 6-1) against Dillingham's Arizona State Sun Devils (3-7, 2-5) at Mountain America Stadium for a 2 p.m. Pac-12 showdown airing on FOX.

Dillingham and Lanning share a history of working together, with Dillingham serving as offensive coordinator at Oregon last season. Both coaches were also on staff at Memphis under Mike Norvell. They know each other well, understanding each other's tendencies. While they recognize the need to be aware of each other's strategies, they also acknowledge the importance of not overthinking things.

Dillingham emphasized the balance required, stating, "I can go and tell them certain things that I know that I instilled in them last year that they still do. But they know I know that. They're not gonna let (quarterback) Bo (Nix) go to the line and do the same thing that they do. So, there's a little bit of a chess match that I need to get away more than I need to get involved. I need to talk about personnel, strengths, weaknesses, and what they do well." Lanning echoed a similar sentiment, acknowledging the need to be prepared for the strategies Dillingham might employ.

The sub-plot within the game revolves around quarterback Bo Nix, a leading candidate for Heisman Trophy honors, who has been credited for his progress under Dillingham's coaching. Despite the competitive nature of the game, Dillingham and Nix share a strong bond, with Dillingham expressing pride in Nix's accomplishments and character.

Oregon's only hiccup this season was a 36-33 loss to Washington, while ASU has shown signs of growth and confidence, winning two of its last three games. The Sun Devils, despite their injury-plagued season, have displayed resilience and momentum under Dillingham's leadership.

In summary, the upcoming matchup between Oregon and Arizona State promises to be a thrilling contest, with both coaches bringing their unique strengths and strategies to the table. The game will be a testament to the strong relationships and competitive spirit that drive the sport of football.

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