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Steve Luhm and Lya Wodraska
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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Aggies confident as they prep for Vols

The Aggies sound like a team that is confident, but not too confident, heading into their season opener at Tennessee during Monday's press conference.

Utah State coach Matt Wells spoke of the Tennessee checkerboard painted end zones, the playing of Rocky Top and the spectacle of being able to play in front of 102,455 fans in Neyland Stadium as all part of the great atmosphere at Tennessee.

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But neither Wells nor his players think they'll be intimidated or in awe of Sunday's opener.

"We've been there before," running back Joe Hill said of big games. "You just go out and play. At the end of the day, it doesn't matter who is on the other side."

Zach Vigil said he would enjoy seeing the stadium before the game and would take the obligatory pictures, but other than that, Sunday's opener is just a football game.

"We're going to do what we do as a defense and fly around and get after them," he said.

So are the Aggies just trying to convince themselves they won't be intimidated by the scene or do they really believe it? I've got a hunch thanks to the senior leadership and past experience the Aggies will settle into the game rather quickly.

As the players and coaches noted, they've been in big stadiums before, playing at Auburn and Wisconsin and they know how to handle themselves, Vigil said.

No, the real concern for the Aggies seems to be Tennessee's receiving corp., and rightfully so.

The Vols are young but are known for producing top receiving talent and this year isn't expected to be any different.

But guys such as Pig Howard (5-8, 187), Marquez North (6-4, 221), and Von Pearson (6-3, 183) are among the players expected to continue the Vols' pipeline of talent.

Wells said Tennessee is known as wide receiver university and that he "wouldn't argue with that."

As for the Aggies' secondary, we all know it is young, but Vigil seemed confident the defense can handle the Vols' air attack.

In his mind, the Aggies could win every game this year. "It all comes down to execution," he said.

Confident, but not too confident, that seems to be the theme for the Aggies this week.

Couple of roster notes: With Alex Huerta sidelined with a shoulder injury, the Aggies have moved Nick Vigil to outside linebacker and Utah transfer LT Filiaga will start inside along with Zach Vigil.

The other roster note was Devin Centers, a 5-foot-9, 190-pound sophomore, has moved into a starting position at strong safety with senior Frankie Sutera as his backup.

Freshman corner Jalen Davis, who had a very good camp, is listed as Rashard Stewart's backup now.

Wells said both Filiaga and Davis would see plenty of action Sunday.

On offense, JC transfer Hunter Sharp is now Brandon Swindall's backup at receiver.


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