It’s been eight months since fans last saw Utah State football in action*, and with that kind of downtime it’s tempting to take every ounce of preseason talk as gospel. But it’s August, the guys have only just barely donned shoulder pads, and…ugh. You know what? No. We’re doing this. Maybe getting all revved up for the season is exactly the right thing to do — Let’s get hyped…
…For Dax Raymond!
OC David Yost has name-dropped the redshirt sophomore a handful of times already this week. Yost expects his Tight Ends to block (which Dax does) and spread the field with dependable hands (which Dax has). Cliche as it might sound, there’s a certain way impact players move and carry themselves even in practice situations. Raymond has that air about him. He made several nice adjustments to catch passes against solo defenders today like it was business as usual. Were the season set to begin tomorrow, Dax Raymond would be ready to start. With a fully converted Damion Hobbs also in the TE group, this may be one of Utah State’s strongest positions.
…For Jordan Nathan!
In my mind, the two biggest offensive departures this offseason were TE Wyatt Houston (graduation) and freshman wideout Rayshad Lewis (transfer). As mentioned above, the TE group is probably going to be just fine. As for receivers, I don’t believe there is a game-breaking Rashard Higgins 17-touchdowns type guy on this roster — in fact there probably isn’t a double-digit TD scorer anywhere on the roster. What the Aggies do have is an array of offensive weapons that do a lot of good things consistently. Guys like Ron’Quavion Tarver, Jaren Colston-Green and at least three or four others are all looking to contribute significantly this fall. Expect Tarver to set himself apart from the rest by season’s end, but there’s yet another name we need to enter into the offseason Aggie fan lexicon.
Jordan Nathan is a diminutive freshman who by all accounts appears ready to step right into a featured role as USU’s go-to slot guy. Mentioned by name at MW media days in Las Vegas, QB Kent Myers looks like he already has great trust and chemistry in the dude. Nathan has snagged more than a few sideline catches in fall camp that would’ve been good for in-game first downs — we’ll find out if that impression holds up this Saturday in USU’s first scrimmage.
…For applesauce breaks!
How detailed are Aggie football’s daily agendas? Enough that halfway through today’s drills the team took a two-minute break for snackage, and the little program I found at the beginning of practice actually listed that time as being specifically designated an “applesauce break.”
…For Dallin Leavitt & Co.!
This secondary is feisty. Forcing turnovers has been an emphasis all four days of camp thus far, with a lot of little extra pushes to strip the ball in the run game and come down with catchable balls thrown into coverage. True, this is the goal of every defense in the country. But it’s one thing to preach it and another thing to show a practiced dedication to it. This defense is energetic and hungry and pissed off at being picked last in the MW preseason poll. Good.
…For the front seven! Wait is that right? Y-yes! The front seven!
Situational drills during the last half hour or so of today’s practice pitted offense vs defense for bragging rights. After a few good plays on both sides, coach Wells set the football on the 20 and declared “This is it right here.” And in this light 11-on-11 drill with Myers under center, the star of the show was clear. The Aggie D-line, bolstered by some experienced linebackers, obliterated Myers’ protection. Twice, actually. And then stuffed a run up the middle. And then gave up a short gain before recording another sack (remember, sacks are up to the coach’s discretion here which means a pressure won’t do it — it’s got to be pretty blatant for a play to be whistled dead).
The teams switched personnel in and out several times, but the result was the same. Coach Mailie has his boys up front generating all kinds of pressure, and if this sort of disruption is in any way something we can expect this season, the Aggies may be back on the map in an already-tough Mountain Division.