Takeaway #1 Remember the name Jordan Nathan
After losing some serious speed last year with the transfer of Rayshad Lewis and the graduation of Andrew Rodriguez and Kennedy Williams, USU may have found the right guy to fill in the gap. Jordan Nathan, a 5’9, 175 pound redshirt freshman wide receiver is having himself a very nice fall camp. At Mountain West media day in July, Nathan was one player Coach Wells mentioned as a guy who could surprise people, and Kent Myers described him as one of the leaders of the offense. In today’s practice, Nathan made some nice plays as a slot receiver, and was also used to return kicks. He is a very smart, shifty player who may just be the fastest guy on the team. Though he’s just a freshman, look for Jordan Nathan to make some big plays this season and maybe, just maybe help you forget about Rayshad Lewis a little bit.
Takeaway #2: Special teams needs some consistency
After a season in which more than one loss could be pinned pretty heavily on special teams, USU brought in coaching guru Mark Tommerdahl to lead the group. With 33 years of coaching experience, 22 of which he spent as a special teams coordinator, he seems to be the man for the job. But only time will tell. Much of today’s practice was centered around special teams rehearsing different possible in-game scenarios, one of which resembled the final minute of last season’s New Mexico game debacle. Aaron Dalton and Zach Lee each had a few really nice, booming punts today, but were quite inconsistent. The Aggies lose several of the guys who returned punts and kicks last season, but based on today’s practice I won’t be surprised to see Jordan Nathan, Aaren Vaughns, and Jalen Davis get some of those opportunities.
Takeaway #3: Ron’quavion Tarver makes it look easy
After missing the first few practices of fall camp for family reasons, Ron’quavion Tarver is back and doesn’t seem to have skipped a beat. The 6’3 junior wide receiver had a really nice day at practice, and made it all seem easy. Perhaps even too easy. The great paradox of football camp is always that it’s often difficult to decipher whether one player/unit is doing exceptionally well, or whether another is just slacking off. Either may be the case at today’s practice. Tarver, who led the team in receiving yards last season, had a few plays today that made the defense look foolish. There were more than one instance where Wells and co. were barking at the defense to wake up and to play to the whistle, an understandable side effect of an 85-degree, mid-week practice halfway through camp. But Tarver looked bigger, faster and stronger than ever, and I see no reason why he wouldn’t be the number one guy again this season.