Utah State football: Aggies adjusting to role changes
Logan • In his first two years with Utah State, Matt Wells bristled when pass rushers ran too close to his quarterback in practice. He wouldn't take kindly when defenders got a little too into their drills while trying to chase down Chuckie Keeton.
Understandably, he's learned to adopt a new attitude as the program's head coach.
"I find myself cheering for a couple of sacks," he said Thursday after practice. "Then I find myself coaching Chuckie on the very next play. It's an adjustment, but it's a fun adjustment."
This spring, Wells is getting a feel for leading the other side of the ball. Coming out of the offensive side, he acknowledges he used to have little time to wonder what the defense did in the first few periods of practice.
A week into spring ball sessions, he's getting a better handle on how every unit runs. And he's having a little fun seeing both offense and defense find success when the two face off.
The biggest change is how he reacts to when blitzers chase Keeton or anyone else out of the pocket.
"Now I like it when they fly by because I know they're getting pressure," he said.
The team itself is getting used to a pair of new coordinators. Todd Orlando has taken the reins on defense after coming in from Florida International. But there haven't been too many issues on that side of the ball, as the defense retained several key position coaches, and most of the plays are similar to what the Aggies ran last year.
There will be a few added packages when the team hits the field in the fall, but for now, players say, the transition hasn't been much of a problem.
"There's always a time for change," lineman Jordan Nielsen said. "We just have got to get used to him learn from him. We still have all our old stuff in still. There might be some more changes in the future."
Offensive coordinator Kevin McGiven is calling plays with Wells on the other side of the ball, and there haven't been any obvious hitches there, either. The offense typically enters team drills with a set script, but McGiven also called some plays at the end of Thursday's practice. Most of it, so far, has been schemes that the team already understands.
The retention the players showed in week one if not always execution was promising, Wells said. But he's looking ahead to week two, looking to build on the good first sessions.
"I expected that," he said. "Now the key is to come off a weekend and have a really good 6 a.m. practice Monday morning."