April 11, 2013
LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State's third scrimmage of spring practice was much like its second as both sides of the football performed well during a roughly 100-play scrimmage to conclude the fourth week of drills here Thursday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium.
Offensive highlights for Utah State included senior running back Joey DeMartino who had eight carries for 47 yards with three touchdowns, while junior running back Joe Hill also had eight carries for 49 yards and one touchdown. Junior quarterback Chuckie Keeton completed 12-of-18 passes for 127 yards with one touchdown and sophomore wide receiver Brandon Swindall caught six passes for 87 yards, while senior wide receiver Dwayne Lorick had five receptions for 100 yards, including a 64-yard touchdown.
Defensively, junior safety Frankie Sutera and sophomore linebacker Alex Marsaw each had eight tackles, while freshman defensive end Ricky Ali'ifua finished with three tackles for loss, including one sack. In all, USU's defense recorded three sacks on the day to go along with 10 tackles for loss, five pass breakups, and a forced fumble and fumble recovery in the red zone.
Utah State's defense held the Aggie offense in check early on as it managed only a 24-yard field goal from junior placekicker Nick Diaz during its first three series.
On its fourth series of the scrimmage, the No. 2 offense drove 70 yards in seven plays and scored from eight yards out on a DeMartino run. USU's No. 1 offense then drove 60 yards in six plays, capped by a 6-yard pass from Keeton to senior wide receiver Travis Reynolds.
The defense regained its momentum during the next five series against the No. 1, No. 2 and No. 3 offenses, as it didn't allow any points during that stretch.
Utah State's No. 1 offense then put together back-to-back touchdown drives in a pair of red zone situations as DeMartino scored from 1-yard out to cap an 8-play, 25-yard drive and Hill scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 4-play, 12-yard drive.
Utah State's longest play of the day came on a 64-yard touchdown pass from freshman quarterback Jordan Brown to Lorick late in the scrimmage, followed by DeMartino's third touchdown on an 8-yard run to cap a 6-play, 70-yard drive for the second team offense.
Utah State will practice on Monday and Wednesday next week from 6:15 to 8:15 a.m., before concluding spring drills on Saturday, April 20 at 2 p.m. with its annual Blue vs. White Spring Game, presented by Orbit Irrigation Products. Admission to the spring game is free.
All practices are scheduled for Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium unless inclement weather pushes them to the Stan Laub Indoor Football Complex. All practice times and locations are subject to change.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
2013 Utah State Football Spring Practice Dates
Mon., April 15 - 6:15 - 8:15 a.m.
Wed., April 17 - 6:15 - 8:15 a.m. - No Pads
Saturday, April 20 -2 p.m. - Blue vs. White Spring Game
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE QUOTES
HEAD COACH Matt Wells
On how the offense responded after Wednesday's practice:
"I think they responded right out of the gate. They drove the ball down and they hit some good drives. I saw some guys step up. We're always striving for perfection, but I thought they played pretty good today. There is still a lot of stuff to clean up and I think we have a chance to be good. When you return all the O-linemen and you've got a tight end and quarterback that have played on Saturday's, I think that experience is starting to show. The story of the spring is continued to be give and take because there was turnovers and the defense bowed up again in the red zone a couple of times. Again, it makes me happy because I think it's a mark of a good defense and that continues to be apart of it. But I thought the offense did much, much better than Wednesday."
On Joey DeMartino's play:
"Joey is a guy that I am really proud of because when I got here two years ago, a lot of people were putting him off. He's a guy that's just battled, battled, battled. He'll be a guy that definitely has a role for us this fall. He really came on at the end of the year last year on special teams and a lot of the kick situations. I am happy for Joey because he continued to stay the course and he played well today."
On Brandon Swindall's play:
"The cream rises and Brandon's starting to make plays consistently. He did the other day in the last scrimmage and he did in the indoor the other day, earlier this week. I'm continued to be impressed with Brandon. He is another guy that I think has earned himself a certain role that will be solidified during training camp."
On Kyler Fackrell and any improvements he has made since last year:
"Yeah, first of all he is 15 pounds heavier than he was last year. He is a lot thicker and he looks like a real linebacker. Kyler's got a bright, bright future ahead of him. I am really happy with him. He's moved positions and has really just taken off with that. He's been a very consistent performer."
As an offensive guy, how helpful has it been that you have such great depth at defense?
"Well I just said that to Mr. (Scott) Barnes that part of the issues on offense and running the ball, is I think our front seven are strong. I like those guys from Kyler (Fackrell) to Jake Doughty to Zach Vigil to Nick Vigil coming on. Nick Vigil is going to be a good player. Again the guys up front that continue to pound on the O-line and we rotate the D-line a lot. I like those guys, the front seven. I think they will be the backbone of that defense."
On the special teams play:
"Yeah, well that has been part of something that we waited until the end of spring ball. We've done it in phases and the kick off return - that is just the second day we've done it. Still training some guys and it wasn't a full speed deal, so we'll continue to work on it. It's just a work day in the special teams."
On Craig Harrison's play and if he is the No. 2 quarterback:
"Craig's played better. That'll be all the way down until probably the Thursday before the Utah game. That's a battle that will go all through summer. There is a young man that is going to walk in here on June 3 and he will be right smack-dab in the middle of it too. I know Jeff (Manning) has been out sick. That's a battle that will go through all summer, all training camp, but Craig had a good day."
On spending a lot of time on the road at the beginning of the season:
"Yeah, that is what it looks like. I just glanced at it on my phone before I walked out, so I haven't had a chance to totally study it but I do know it looks like we are going on the road. It will test this team, but you know what, that doesn't bother me because we have a veteran team. These guys won't flinch. They know how to get on a bus, they know how to get on a plane. That'll be a major challenge and I know we have a lot of home games at the end, a good home schedule for the fans to come out. There will be a lot of good teams coming to Romney."
SENIOR RUNNING BACK Joey DeMartino
On his performance today with three touchdowns:
"It felt good today to get out there and finally make more of an impact on the team, for the team. Just try to go out there and do my job and help the best way I can for the team. No matter what I am doing, special teams or offense, I'm just happy to be productive and help today."
On facing this defense:
"Yeah, our defense is such a solid defense. If you don't get ready to practice every day, they are going to get after us. We all started slow, me too. I am going to take a lot of blame. I just wanted to come back out here and prove that the offense can get it going again and again. But yeah, the defense is just so solid out here. You've got to come with your `A' game everyday against them or something is going to happen, a fumble, an interception, tackle for loss."
On the depth at running back:
"It's really important. Especially since this is my fourth year being here, I've been behind some really good backs, Robert Turbin, Michael Smith and Kerwynn Williams. We just kind of built a tradition here from when we were younger and we just want to keep carrying it on. We just got to get the younger guys and myself to step up more and take more of a role in this offense because if you can open up the running game, the passing game will definitely open up."
JUNIOR SAFETY Frankie Sutera
From a defensive standpoint, how did you feel the scrimmage was today?
"I thought it was decent. I mean, we need to be better on third downs. That has been a big focus for us all spring is getting out of third down situations. We haven't been doing too well at it. We can always get better at things like that. I mean, you can stop them on first and second down, but if you can't get out of third downs you are never going to be a great defense. That is where we need to get better at."
On how it has been with Coach Todd Orlando?
"I love Coach Orlando, he is crazy. The guy has got tons of energy and enthusiasm. He's always getting us fired up. I am trying to keep on his level of his enthusiasm. He's just got tons of energy and is a smart guy, and I just keep learning and learning new things everyday."
Coach Wells challenged the offense to come out hard after yesterday's practice, could you feel a difference in their play?
"Yeah, you can definitely see they came out a little bit stronger than yesterday. Yesterday they weren't very strong. That's where we as a defense, if we have a good day we can't slack off and have a bad day the next day. We've got to fight harder to stay on top of the offense."
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