Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Chris Detrick | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah State Aggies wide receiver Matt Austin (4) can't make a catch past Nevada Wolf Pack defensive back Isaiah Frey (28) during the first half of the game at Romney Stadium Saturday November 26, 2011. Nevada is winning the game 10-7.
Utah State football: Excitement surrounds Aggies’ spring practice
USU football » Team has holes to fill, but looks to build on ’11 success.
First Published Mar 26 2012 09:40 am • Last Updated Mar 27 2012 12:07 am

Logan • Matt Austin is sensing a different level of intrigue, one he hasn’t experienced in his time as Utah State’s most physical wide receiver.

The people of Logan have always been interested in Aggie football, especially since coach Gary Andersen took over a little more than three years ago. But the interest this season and the thirst for spring football has hit a fever pitch, after the Aggies last season earned their first bowl berth in 11 years.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

"Everywhere I go, people are telling me that they can’t wait for it to start," Austin said. "I can’t wait, either. We have some lofty goals this year. We think we can be a really good team."

USU’s spring practice starts on Tuesday morning, and it will culminate in the spring game at the end of April. For the Aggies, answering several questions about a roster that lost two likely NFL draft picks in Robert Turbin and Bobby Wagner will be a key.

For instance: Who plays quarterback? Andersen all but announced sophomore Chuckie Keeton as his starter following Utah State’s loss to Ohio to end last season. But all indications are that Keeton and senior Adam Kennedy are locked in a battle for the job.

The Aggies have other goals for spring, too, including maintaining continuity on the offensive line, finding depth at running back behind senior Kerwynn Williams, finding defensive backfield help, and identifying starters at linebacker — which is still a deep and talented position even with Wagner gone.

"We’re in an exciting spot," Andersen said. "We’re in a good spot, but we’re excited to get the kids on the football field. It’s been a long winter. I purposely wanted spring practice to start late because I wanted the kids to get more time in the weight room."

For Utah State, much will be new. Matt Wells takes over as offensive coordinator, replacing Dave Baldwin, who left for the same position at Colorado State. With Wells, the Aggies will employ much more of a spread offense, rather than the run-oriented one that was successful in spurts and frustrating at other times under Baldwin.

There also will be a new defensive coordinator, as Dave Aranda brings his aggressive style from Hawaii.

"This is going to give me a chance to really evaluate the direction of the program," Andersen said. "Last year I was heavily involved with the defense, and I didn’t get to see everything. Now, I have the opportunity to oversee the entire football team."

story continues below
story continues below

USU’s strengths, heading into the spring, figure to be at quarterback, where Keeton and Kennedy are two of the better quarterbacks in the Western Athletic Conference. Wide receiver is also a major strength, as well as linebacker and cornerback.


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.