Utah State football feeling prepared for Mountain West transition
Officially, it's a new day for Utah State. A new conference. A new standing in college athletics.
But did it feel different to football coach Matt Wells?
"No, not really," he said. "We've been preparing for this since last year. As soon as we accepted the invitation, we were in there full steam for the Mountain West from a recruiting standpoint and a preparation standpoint."
The games are months off, but Wells was feeling very much ahead of the game on Day 1 of Utah State's Mountain West membership. For the last year, the program has been recruiting to the conference, which has the potential to be the top non-autobid BCS league next season.
"Just the level of play in the conference and the ability to be recognized as the top non-BCS conference is a big deal," Wells said. "The added media is definitely a boost."
Coaches have already had the chance to review for next year's conference opponents, formulating some tentative plans for the early contests. Although they'll likely go back and refine strategies as the season gets going, Wells said he and his staff have a very firm grounding in Mountain West football.
"It's a conference I'm familiar with in my time at New Mexico: very solid football and very well-coached," Wells said. "Until the teams play and you see the film, you don't know exactly what you're getting. But we've put in some pretty good scouting and preparations so far."
Since Wells was a player in the mid-90s, the football program has been through a rugged journey during conference realignment, including ill-fated independence. With the move to the Mountain West, Wells said he foresees an end to that odyssey.
"It's been a journey, but it's been a progressive one lately," he said. "It started with President [Stan] Albrecht and Scott Barnes, and their vision to get us to the Mountain West. It's a step in the right direction, and gives you some continuity and stability."
Football season will be upon the Aggies quickly. Mountain West media days are scheduled for July 22 and 23, which Wells, Chuckie Keeton and Zach Vigil will attend. The team reports for camp on Aug. 1, and has its first practice on Aug. 2.
Utah State kicks off the season Aug. 29 at Utah, and conference play begins Sept. 7 at Air Force.
The video above was produced by the Mountain West. Think the conference is excited by today's additions?
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon
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