Logan • Sending Will Davis into the NFL and graduating a number of other talents puts Utah State’s cornerback position under the microscope this fall.
Yet, when cornerback coach Kendrick Shaver looks at the group he has, he doesn’t think of it as a "question mark" position for the Aggies. He sees talent, depth and a group of defensive backs who still feel like there’s much to prove.
"We’re seeing what some of these guys can do, and just finding our chemistry," Shaver said. "Stability is always good, no matter what it is. It’s the key, and these guys have a home now, they’re comfortable."
Consider that the position has some of the most versatile athletes on the team. Rashard Stewart, who stood out in Monday’s padded practice with a handful of break-ups, oscillated between defense and receiver early in his career.
Tay Glover-Wright, the presumed starter at one corner spot, has played on both sides of the ball, including as an emergency quarterback.
Add the experience of Nevin Lawson and Quinton Byrd, and Shaver feels good about his group, which has been working hard to make sure he keeps liking what he sees.
"We’re all studying each other’s mistakes as a group," Glover-Wright said. "We notice it, we come out the next day and don’t make that mistake. A guy who makes the same mistake twice, that’s unacceptable."
Shoulder pads bring out aggression
Two days of helmets and shorts was more than enough for the Aggies.
In keeping with the NCAA’s five-day warm-up policy, the team’s first two sessions had been comparatively contact-free. On Monday, the team put on shoulder pads for the first time this fall, and the result was a practice with some big hits.
The offensive and defensive lines clashed hard, helmets and pads clunking as they charged at each other in earnest. Linebacker Jake Doughty had one of the loudest tackles of the day, wrapping up new arrival Rashad Hall and stopping him dead up the middle.
The pads were music to Matt Wells’ ears.
"I’m tired of Day One and Day Two," he said. "Talking about the NCAA, I get it and everything, but you can’t get a true look at your team. I liked the intensity, I liked the focus — I thought it was a business-like focus. It thought we got really good work done."
Tight end D.J. Tialavea may have had the highlight-reel catch of practice, laying out in the end zone for a pass from freshman Darell Garretson. He’s stretching his label as a "block-first" end. … Defense had its moments, too, down the depth chart. Frankie Sutera and Travis Parrish each got a pick in 11-on-11 toward the end of practice. … The newcomers are still getting adjusted to the demands of Division I practice. On at least one occasion, a coach loudly reminded a freshman that he wasn’t in high school anymore.
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