USU offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey looked and sounded very much like a coach as he dissected the Aggies' 38-7 loss to Tennessee Sunday. He spoke of resiliency and the need to have a short memory.
Here is hoping he sounded just as convincing when he spoke to his teammates as he did to media members, for the Aggies now face the tough challenge of putting the loss behind them and getting ready for Idaho State.
"There will be some yelling and screaming," Whimpey said. "But our coaches don't tear people down, they encourage us. They'll put more pressure on us in practice to execute but we have to remain positive and take the good from the game and move on."
To that end, here are the key things we learned about the Aggies in the loss and the concerns going forward as they prepare for Idaho State.
1. The offensive line needs work. We all knew the offensive line would be the weak point on an otherwise strong offense and it showed against the Vols. Unfortunately, the only thing that may fix the issues is more time working together. Fortunately the Aggies have some time before conference play begins to coach up the younger players.
Whimpey said the Aggies were going to get right at it with meetings and film sessions as soon as they landed in Logan. That is a good thing, they need all the time they can get.
2. Chuckie Keeton is healthy, but - Keeton did as good a job as anyone could have hoped own his own as he evaded defenders and earned tough yards. However, he did get up hobbling a couple times late in the second half but then trotted off the field without any hitch in his steps.
Perhaps all that running for his life made his surgically repaired knee tired, which wouldn't be too surprising.
Asked if he was concerned about the quarterback's health and Utah State coach Matt Wells curtly replied Keeton was "100 percent."
Keeton's health is something to watch as the season gets longer and the wear and tear mounts.
3. The run game, or lack of it. The Aggies managed only 100 yards on 24 carries with starting back Joe Hill rushing nine times for 22 net yards. The offensive line's play obviously was a big factor but the Aggies have to find a way to spring Hill.
4. The secondary was sufficient at times but by no means formidable enough to dictate the game. At one point Tennessee QB Justin Worley completed 13 passes in a row. The Aggies have to do a better job on the edges and knock some balls loose. Wells said the Aggies needed to do a better job creating opportunities, that seemed particularly true for the secondary.
5. The receivers have to complete plays. The Aggies had two critical drops and didn't win many battles elsewhere. They've got to do a better job, particularly when Keeton is under as much pressure as he was last night.
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