Kicking game, cornerbacks and other thoughts from Utah State scrimmage
Logan • Some extra notes, quotes and thoughts from Utah State's second scrimmage on Wednesday:
• The Aggies want no questions in the kicking game. Both Jake and Josh Thompson missed a 43-yarder toward the end of the scrimmage, and another kick attempt was blocked by Paul Piukala (For the record, Nick Diaz did make a 21-yarder). Matt Wells said it was one of the few disappointments he's had in the kicking game this fall: "We missed a couple chip shots at the end, and we can't do that - can't ever happen. I just want to stress the importance to them: We're going to have a game come down to a field goal to win it, or two, and we're going to have to block one."
• Cornerback is one of the hottest depth chart battles. Wells name-checked Rashard Stewart, Jeremy Morris and Tay Glover-Wright after the scrimmage, saying they've established themselves as contributors this season. Stewart has been one of the biggest ballhawks, Morris come on strong as a newcomer, and Glover-Wright is one of the team's best all-around athletes. Stewart said the group is getting bunched together in a lot of different packages to see how the chemistry and depth works itself out. Sure some of that is figuring out what you have, but that starting spot across from Nevin Lawson appears to be flexible right now. Stewart: "The football season is crazy so we switch the packages up so we can be ready for whatever and whoever is in there at any time."
• Receiving corps is solid ... but needs to play that way during games. It was a good day to be a first-team receiver. There weren't many drops, and several of Chuckie Keeton's incompletions were either throwaways or long shots. Travis Reynolds nearly made another contested end zone grab that didn't end up on the stat sheet. But the starters - and Hayden Weichers, who had two big catches on Wednesday - so far are paying off the faith Wells has had in them. They just need to keep doing it. Wells: "I'm not from Missouri, but it's 'show me'. I'm from Oklahoma, but that's close enough, right? They're going to need to do it on game day, but that's a direct reflection of how they've practiced a little bit the last week or so."
• It's tough to run on this defense. Sure the first-team defense only had to face the second team offense, but take it for what it is: Those guys are good. There's so much depth along the line and the linebacker positions that even the second-team defense did a pretty good job of stuffing Joe Hill on his limited snaps and Joey DeMartino, who had a quiet follow-up to his big first scrimmage. Just as often as the run game was moving forward, they also seemed to move back. Also look for that depth to pay off in games, as Utah State may swap in defenders to stay fresh against no-huddle offenses. Tavaris McMillan: "[Depth] is definitely valuable, especially when we play against pace teams. Guys can rotate in and out so it definitely plays into our hands."
Utah State's next scrimmage is Saturday at 6 p.m. For Family Fun Night. Wells added Wednesday that he is "close" to picking out redshirts with his staff, and D-Day will soon be at hand for some of the reserves, so some of those decisions might be hashed out this weekend.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon
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