Logan • The crunch of pads could be heard from the nosebleeds at Romney Stadium.
Frankie Sutera’s teeth-rattling hit on Jefferson Court left both Aggies needing a minute to collect themselves. Sutera, the senior safety, acknowledged later that next time he’ll lay off from laying out that much punishment.
USU’s Friday scrimmage standouts
WR Brandon Swindall » 5 catches, 118 yards, touchdown
QB Craig Harrison » 10-for-17, 151 yards passing, touchdown
CB Jentz Painter » 7 tackles, 2 pass breakups
It was simply instinct.
"I tried to lay off," he said, "but the football in me wanted to hit him as hard as I can."
It may simply be the undercurrent of urgency floating around the Utah State football team with the end of spring just a week away. The hits are getting a little harder, those who need to make plays are getting a little more motivated. Their window to impress coaches with live action is closing.
For the Aggies’ second spring scrimmage on Friday, coach Matt Wells and his staff got to see a few of the players who are trying to seize some of those moments.
"We know how to compete, we know how to go hard and it will make us a better team," he said. "Going into the last week of spring ball, we have two practices and the spring game. These guys are finishing this thing the right way."
One of the biggest standouts was junior Brandon Swindall, who notched five catches for 118 yards. He had one of the early big plays on the day: a 40-yard touchdown reception on a pass from fellow receiver Jojo Natson.
But just as critical were his late contributions on a two-minute drill drive, when he made tough catches by the sideline to stop the clock. After two ugly drills for the first-team offense in red zone situations, getting in field goal position was a nice way to end the session for the unit.
"He’s doing a really good job becoming one of the guys who has jumped out as a guy to go to," quarterback Darell Garretson said.
While there were some strong moments for the first team - Kyler Fackrell had a third-down sack on one possession - some of the most intriguing action happened down the depth chart on Friday.
Two running backs scored touchdowns: pint-sized sophomore Kennedy Williams and recent linebacker-turned-rusher La’Bradford Harold, both of whom flashed some shiftiness and playmaking ability. While Garretson finished a respectable 9-for-16, backup Craig Harrison had some dynamic instances under center while throwing 151 yards, including a touchdown to Damoun Patterson.
Leading the team in tackles was 5-foot-8 corner Jentz Painter, who also broke up two passes. While the defense rued going without an interception, freshman early enrollee Chase Christiansen had the play of the day with a fumble recovery.
Still, Utah State is looking for more in the final week of spring ball.
"Even if we’re making mistakes, we just need to have the attitude that we’re going to be faster and run harder and play harder than the other guys," Sutera said. "If we do that every day we’re going to improve and finish out spring well."
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