It's the "dog days" right now, Stew Morrill said. It's that time of year when a team tires of beating up on each other and needs to take it out on another squad.
Facing NAIA Central Methodist in a Friday night exhibition likely won't be much of a competitive game, but it will give the Utah State basketball team a chance to really see who they are before the season gets rolling.
"It's time to go out and play someone else," Morrill said. "It's time to see how other teams are running things that we're not seeing every day like our own stuff."
Morrill has seen enough from his Aggies to believe the team can bounce back from an injury-plagued final year in the WAC. Preston Medlin, Danny Berger and Spencer Butterfield are again healthy. Center Jarred Shaw is back and working harder than ever to improve on his all-conference season last year, the coaching staff said.
But the team's success this year likely hinges on its ability to develop depth something it didn't have much of last year.
The Aggies take on transfer Kyle Davis, a gritty, hard-rebounding big man who will see time at power forward. Local product Jalen Moore should also battle for minutes with a lanky 6-foot-8 frame and athleticism to spare.
Losing four players for the season last year was devastating for Utah State, but offered other players a chance to get experience they wouldn't have had.
Morrill thinks it could have a positive payoff. At an intra-squad scrimmage last week, Morrill felt the team was between his veterans and his newcomers.
Starting Friday, he hopes the theme continues.
"We do hope we a chance to have some depth this season," Morrill said.
"Some of that potential depth is a result of some of those new guys playing more than they would've otherwise. It was kind of a makeshift situation."
Central Methodist at Utah State
O At Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, Logan
Tipoff •Â Friday, 7 p.m.