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Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska cover Utah State athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. Lya Wodraska is on twitter at @LyaWodraska, Steve Luhm is on twitter at @sluhm

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Utah State football hiring Joe Lorig to coach linebackers

On Signing Day, the Aggies were pleased to be taking recruits from some of big programs out West. Only a day later, they're getting a coach from one as well.

Utah State football will hire Joe Lorig, an Arizona State assistant, to coach the Aggies' linebackers. Lorig replaces longtime assistant Kevin Clune, who left to become defensive coordinator at Hawaii.

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A Utah State release announcing the move said Lorig's hiring was pending approval from the board of trustees.

"Joe brings a lot of football knowledge, passion, energy, experience and a recruiting prowess to our program that our players and staff will greatly benefit from as we continue to strive toward our goal of being Mountain West Champions on the field and in the classroom," coach Matt Wells said in the release.

Utah State expects Lorig to take over a unit that was considered the biggest strength of the No. 7 scoring defense in the nation last year. Although first-team all-conference linebacker Jake Doughty is gone, the Aggies return all-conference honorees Zach Vigil, Kyler Fackrell as well as Nick Vigil, Tavaris McMillan and others who will fight for time this year.

Lorig has served as the cornerbacks coach and special teams coordinator for the Sun Devils for two years under Todd Graham. In 2012, he helped Arizona State improve to third nationally in pass defense. This past season, the Sun Devils had 21 interceptions to rank No. 3 in the nation. He also coached freshman All-American kicker Zane Gonzalez.

Before that, he defensive coordinator at Division II Central Washington, during which his team was 34-12. He was named AFCA DII Assistant Coach of the Year in 2010.

Lorig has also coached linebackers at UTEP, and was an eight-year assistant at Idaho State. He was defensive coordinator there from 2003 to 2006. He has mentored a number of NFL players, but most notably All-Pro Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings.

Kyle Goon

kgoon@sltrib.com

Twitter: @kylegoon



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