Logan • The Utah State football team held its first day of practice on Friday as team members went through drills without pads and in shorts.
In addition to the regulars from 2016, as well as the incoming freshmen and transfers, Aggies coach Matt Wells was particularly happy about the return to action of Dax Raymond, Mason Tobeck and Jarom Ioane.
“Those are three guys who really had season-ending injuries last year and there a couple of more who missed a decent amount of time,” Wells said.
Raymond, a tight end from Provo (Timpview), is still a sophomore after redshirting last season.
Tobeck is a sophomore from Puyallup, Wash., who played in eight games last year at linebacker while Jarom Ioane is a senior from Bountiful who missed the entire ’16 campaign but is back on the offensive line with his 6-foot-6, 360-pound frame.
“In a hundred and twenty years in Utah State football, this is the shortest practice,” said Wells to media members after the two-hour session.
Wells said that the pace of the practice and workouts in the late summer, combined with analysis of previous camps, led to a new philosophical approach when readying the team for preseason.
“We studied a lot of our soft tissue injuries, as well as what we call issues, and most of them happen during the first three days of practice,” he said. “Trying to avoid that, which is just more buildup from more periods.”
They’ve been everywhere
Thirty players on the Utah State roster have served missions for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, each two years in length.
Ten members of the team are also married and, the subset of both statistics, seven players have both spread the word and tied the knot: sophomore offensive lineman Moroni Iniquez, senior offensive lineman Jarom Ionae, junior linebacker Derek Larsen, sophomore linebacker Sialao Mobley, sophomore safety Chance Parker, junior offensive lineman K.J. Uluave and junior wide receiver Zach Van Leeuwen.
Hoops practice too
At the same time as the football team started practicing, so did the Utah State basketball team across campus.
That’s because the USU men’s squad leaves for a basketball tour of Italy on Aug. 16 and is permitted to practice in advance.
The trip will include five games, with stops in San Marino, Rome, Lake Como and Trieste. The competition will be comprised of Italian club teams.