Utah State fall camp: Linebackers lead Thursday morning highlights
Logan • The Aggies have officially started two-a-days, and with full pads, Utah State is pretty much going full bore.
Well, at least that's where they're trying to get.
Thursday's morning practice ended with some harsh words from offensive position coaches. The first game of the season is now 21 days away, and the urgency is building. Several times, the coaching staff reminded their players to make the most of their efforts, to squeeze everything they could out of each rep.
Evidently, the offense didn't fare as well as hoped. While the offensive line ran after practice, the running backs and tight ends got their ears chewed.
Reserving some judgement on those points for how the players respond this evening, here are some of the morning standouts from Utah State football practice:
• Linebacker is clearly a position of luxury for the Aggies right now. Jake Doughty had some solid plays this morning, wrapping up Joey DeMartino on a screen, and stuffing Joe Hill on a run between the tackles. But in second team drills, Nick Vigil and Tavaris McMillan were clear overachievers. Vigil was behind the line a few times on pass rush, and dragged down what could've been a decent run. McMillan made a goal-line stop, and also forced a fumble as the offense attempted a reverse. Should be interesting to see how the Aggies attempt to get those guys snaps in the season.
• Rashard Stewart picked off a tipped pass today, as he took first-team reps at corner. He also had a pass break-up in the end zone. Stewart started camp behind Tay Glover-Wright on the depth chart, but if he continues to look as smooth as he does now, he could push for more first-team reps, maybe at nickel or maybe even as a starter across from Nevin Lawson.
• On at least one series, the defensive front was giving the offensive line fits, as well as Chuckie Keeton. Playing at about the 25-yard line, Keeton had to scramble three straight downs after dropping back for a pass. There were a few different looks, some with three down linemen, some with all rushers standing up. It could be a sign that the Aggies will give offenses a lot of different, confusing formations in an effort to keep opponents guessing.
• There were a couple long pass completions down the depth chart today, explosive plays that have been tough to come by. Brock Bird caught two of them, a 30-plus yarder from Jeff Manning and a 28-yard touchdown pass from Darell Garretson. Hayden Weichers also had a nice reception from Craig Harrison: The throw was slightly behind where he was expecting, but the freshman reached back for a one-handed grab at his waist.
• Speaking of freshmen, Wyatt Houston had a nice leaping catch from Manning. He made a few plays during third-team reps on Thursday morning, and has been targeted a few times every day, it seems.
• Although the running backs were chastised after practice today, there were a few nice moments from them. Perhaps none more impressive than a touchdown run by Robert Marshall, who attempted to jump over the line for a touchdown, was pushed back, then cut to his left and evaded a tackle for a three-yard score in a goal line drill.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon