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Utah State football looking for more playmaking from receivers

Published March 20, 2013 9:37 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • On Wednesday, another solid day by the defensive backs carved an important point into relief: Utah State is looking for more big plays from its receiving corps.

Cameron Sanders and Sus Valero notched picks on the day, but there were other potential good catches in 11-on-11 drills that fell to the turf.

After the Aggies' second spring practice, Matt Wells asked for more.

"I thought the wideouts need to step up and make plays," he said. "When the ball's in the air, they need to find out a way to make a play. Contested, uncontested, it doesn't matter."

One of the few true long balls of the practice - from Chuckie Keeton - hit a receiver deep who was trying to break out of coverage, but he couldn't come down with it. There were a few more missed connections that could've led to decent gains. Wells also said he'd like to see a few improvements from the quarterbacks on reads and progressions.

But the receivers weren't without their highlights. Travis Reynolds had a grab near the sideline that he could've run further down the field if not for the practice whistle. Jojo Natson broke out of a tackle in a route over the middle.

As for Wednesday's highlights, Wells cited the secondary "finishing" off plays and the defensive line bottling up some of the runs.

"I thought the D line ran to the football well," he said. "I liked their intensity. They play the game the way it's supposed to be played."

The pads come on Thursday, and the coaching staff is hoping for an uptick in energy as the players start hitting. Practice was already chippy Wednesday, and with receivers and running backs jawing with linebackers and corners after plays.

"The pads will come on and the intensity will pick up, not that it wasn't intense today," Wells said. "I just think there's a lot of juice. We'll take care of each other and just have a very crisp, clean practice."

— Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon