Utah State fall camp: Extra thoughts and notes from first scrimmage (VIDEO)
Logan • Here's a few quick extra notes and thoughts from the scrimmage:
• There are running back snaps for grabs. Joe Hill got a little rest after a few reps because he's obviously expected to be a huge contributor this fall. But believe this: Coaches will not ignore what Joey DeMartino did on Saturday. Running for 52 yards on nine carries, including a number of tackle-breaking plays, he's making a case as a change-of-pace guy or perhaps the 1A guy on the depth chart. Hill is the starter, but he's not going to take all the snaps. Utah State will take playmaking where they can get it if DeMartino keeps performing like he has.
• Nice day for the offensive line starters. Chuckie Keeton explained he thought the line performs at a bit of a disadvantage in camp because they can't cut like they might against a normal opponent (See: "Aggies helping Aggies"). Considering that, the line had a solid day against the second-team defense. On many plays, they were able to open up huge holes for Hill, Keeton and DeMartino. One of the most experienced lines in the country, the unit indicated they'll be ready to go against the Utes when they can go full bore.
• Travis Van Leeuwen is among the most targeted receivers in live situations. You might recall in the spring game that Van Leeuwen got a lot of looks, and the trend carried into the first fall scrimmage. One of his toughest grabs was a diving 24-yarder down the left flank. If he can make grabs like that more consistently, he'll be a breakout player in the receiving corps.
• Defensive backs still hunting for interceptions. There was no shortage of defensive plays on passes. Dre Snowden could've had a pick-six if he had held on. Dayton DeLoach nearly had two interceptions on the same drive. Jeremy Morris almost picked off Keeton on a diving play. But no one quite brought it in. Interceptions are tough plays, but the Aggies should start finishing with them considering how many times they're able to get their hands on passes. Really only the catching part is missing.
• Expect Utah State to play it safe with big contributors. You only need to look at the news coming out of Utes camp to understand the havoc serious injuries in August can create. Mo Alexander and AJ Pataiali'i weren't in pads Saturday, and Jake Doughty, Hill and a few others only had a few snaps. Matt Wells said there weren't any serious issues among them, just bumps and bruises common in football. But with this many returners, staying healthy is at a premium.
Coach Wells on that: "Some of those guys who have done it on Saturdays on game day, they'll have a set number of reps. We're gonna hit that and we're gonna shut them down for the live reps. We'll get them to the fight and be healthy. We've got a plan for every one of those veteran players who have played on that plan, and we'll stick to it."
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon