Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
Utah State football: Spring practice begins for Aggies
USU football » Coach lauds team’s intensity but calls youthful Ags “a work in progress.”
First Published Mar 04 2014 01:44 pm • Last Updated Mar 04 2014 09:10 pm

Logan • It’s been brewing for a while. Years actually.

Receiver Brandon Swindall and cornerback Rashard Stewart have been practice rivals for a few seasons now. That one-on-one battle was renewed Tuesday morning, as the two got to scrapping with the rest of the Utah State squad in the start of spring practices in the team’s indoor complex.

At a glance

USU starts spring practice

Highlights from Aggies’ Tuesday morning practice:

Zach Vigil » Returns an interception for a touchdown.

Braelon Roberts » Makes a long catch in traffic.

Rashard Stewart »  Gets a pass breakup in 11-on-11s

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

At least once, Stewart broke up a pass to Swindall in traffic, earning him a side bump from defensive coordinator Todd Orlando. Swindall is expecting that intensity all the way through April, and the competition has taken on a new fervor now with both in the mix for a lot more playing time come fall.

"That’s what we talked about after the bowl game," Swindall said. "We wanted to work out — me, one of the best receivers, and him, the top corner. So it’s best on best."

Less than 70 days removed from a 2013 Poinsettia Bowl win, the Aggies set out in the program’s latest chapter. Starting at 6 a.m., the team was getting its first official unpadded practice, giving coach Matt Wells a strong handle on what he’ll have to work with in his second season at the helm.

The energy was good, he said, but there’s work to do.

"I think we’re really good in some spots and really skilled and youthful in others," he said. "It’s a work in progress. It’s fun to be back out here. Less than 70 days after the Poinsettia Bowl, we’re back here and these guys are excited."

The Aggies return 15 total starters, but only 11 are on offense and defense, and two of the most prominent — quarterback Chuckie Keeton and running back Joe Hill — are limited as they recover from injury.

That leaves a lot of roles up for grabs for up-and-comers who can seize the opportunity a few months away from the start of the season. Without pads on Tuesday, the spotlight was at the skill positions and in coverage.

Quarterback Darell Garretson is one of those who will benefit from the opportunities afforded this spring. He completed a few passes in 11-on-11 drills at the tail end of practice, but also threw a pick-six to Zach Vigil that reminded him he can still progress.

story continues below
story continues below

"Biggest goals are just to get better and more fluid with the offense," he said. "Get it inside and out, just really get it down like Chuckie has it down."

Wells and a few players mentioned verbal and non-verbal communication as areas needing work. Younger players will need to work on their comprehension and understanding of drills and signals as spring develops. The time to iron out mental kinks is at hand, long before the team puts on the pads for real.

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.