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USU Football: As end of camp nears, position battles continue

Published August 22, 2012 6:05 pm

College football • Aggies seek consistency as open day draws near.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Logan • Officially, there are still three days remaining of fall camp at Utah State.

And while the Aggies are still going through the grind of two-a-days, they have begun preparation for their season-opener against Southern Utah.

There are also key position battles still to be worked out. For instance, Gary Andersen is still looking for a third running back. The fight at defensive tackle between Travis Seefeldt and Elvis Matagi has intensified.

Wide receiver is also a position that still has significant competition, where players like Alex Wheat, Brandon Swindall and Shaan Johnson are battling it out for that final spot in the rotation. With game preparation beginning in earnest Monday, these final three days are critical for the players involved.

"Right now, it's good and bad," Andersen said. "With some of these battles, one guy will separate one day, and then the other guy will separate the other day. That could mean that we have a lot of good players, or a lot of players who aren't consistent, which ever way you look at it."

Robert Marshall and Joey DeMartino had been vying for the third running back job. Both have been hurt, however. Marshall is expected back in time to start the season, while DeMartino will be out longer with his broken arm.

That means more reps for Abou Toure and Kelvin "Mookie" Lee. In USU's system, the third back receives about 10 touches per game. Williams was the third back last season behind Robert Turbin and Michael Smith.

"We need guys to step up," offensive coordinator Matt Wells said. "We need that at running back and wide receiver. We're really close to playing football, so every practice is important at this point."

A jolt of energy

Utah State has spent the first three days of practice this week preparing for its first three opponents. The Aggies took a look at Wisconsin on Monday, followed by Utah on Tuesday, with the remainder of camp being dedicated to Southern Utah.

For players, the end of a long offseason is in sight. That's the main theme being taken out of preparing for an actual opponent.

"It's an exciting time of the year," sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton said. "Everyone is starting to get a little anxious. We're almost down to seven days before the first game."

The injury bug

Wheat, a sophomore wideout, is nursing a sprained ankle and is listed as day-to-day. Marshall's sprained shoulder is healing, but he still hasn't practiced this week. Wide receiver Jordan Jenkins is back practicing after suffering a shoulder injury in Saturday's scrimmage.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tonyaggieville