Cold baths and stretching will go a long way to help Utah State recover from eight weeks of pounding, physical games.
The Aggies (4-4, 3-1) finally will get rested this week after a long, injury-filled season. But while they’re healing their bodies, looking back at a blowout of New Mexico has already helped them bounce back from two tough losses at home.
Hawaii at Utah StateNov. 2, 2 p.m.
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"Wins heal a lot of hurt and heartache," coach Matt Wells said Monday. "I think it means everything. It gives us a great outlook and perspective on where we’re at right now."
Confronted with four starters suffering season-ending injuries on offense, the Aggies have been improvising in recent weeks to stay competitive. After beating the Lobos on the road, the confidence Utah State had early in the season is returning.
In fact, Wells said, he still sees the team in the running for the Mountain West title. If the Aggies can win out against Hawaii, UNLV, Colorado State and Wyoming, they could still take the top spot as long as Boise slips up.
"It puts us smack dab in the middle of it," he said. "I understand that we don’t own the tiebreaker with Boise, but in some ways we do control our own destiny as far as staying in the race and as far as obtaining the goal of going to a third straight bowl game."
But the Aggies can’t ahead of themselves either. Utah State has some very important work to do this week, namely getting healthy.
Aside from season-ending injuries, the Aggies have played through all manner of injuries that now have a little extra time to heal. Wells said many of his veterans have played through hundreds of snaps already this season, and he’ll give them some extra time to rest.
"A lot of these games were extremely physical — bloodbath, gladiator fights," he said. "We need to be smart, and get some work in, get some lifting in, get some conditioning in. We have to refresh our bodies and our minds as well."
Taking a look back at New Mexico, Wells added that he was extremely proud that his team had run the ball well on offense while taking away the Lobos’ run game. He said the defensive line "played their tails off," and running back Joey DeMartino and the offensive line had a great game on the other side of the ball.
Wells also said he was impressed even after going back over the film of his freshman quarterback, Darell Garretson. Though there are footwork issues the QB has to clean up, he was impressed.
"I thought he played very, very well," Wells said. "If we had caught the ball a little better, he would’ve had a tremendous debut. I thought he was pretty calm, poised and composed. And he did a nice job of operating our offense."
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