Aug. 2, 2013
LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's football team held its first official practice of the 2013 season Friday afternoon as 103 players participated in the two-hour work out on the USU practice fields. Among the group were 18 returning starters (8-offense; 7-defense; 3-specialists) and 49 returning lettermen (23-offense; 222-defense; 4- specialists), including 22 seniors.
After the players worked out in helmets, practice jerseys and shorts, first-year Aggie head coach Matt Wells was pleased with the team's energy and effort on the first day.
"A lot of juice and a lot of energy, just like I thought. It was fast-paced," said Wells. "I see guys on defense that have played a lot for us and I think there were eight pressures on the first day so that's a lot of pressures to A) pick up, and B) execute on defense, and I thought they did a nice job. There was a lot of give and take, better at the end for the offense, but not real good in the middle. I thought it was sloppy a little bit. We're wearing helmets, so we will know more Monday."
"It's been a long summer. A fast summer but a long summer, and I know that's an oxymoron a little bit, but were all excited to be out here. When you can get out here and lineup and start to see some of the pieces beginning to take shape that's fun," Wells added.
Wells was also pleased with how the newcomers tried to prepare themselves for camp.
"You can tell they got in here with some of their teammates over the summer and they learned what we are doing, because they were able to lineup. I was proud of the newcomers for that because I actually thought they could lineup and make it look like football for a second."
Friday was the first of 29 practices for Utah State leading up to its season-opener at Utah on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m.
As part of the NCAA's five-day "acclimatization period", the Aggies will again be in shorts and helmets Saturday and will add shoulder pads on Monday. USU's first practice in full pads will be on Wednesday, Aug. 7 and the first two-a-day is scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 8. USU's first scrimmage will be on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 10 at 10 a.m.
Utah State, who is entering its first season in the Mountain West after spending the past eight years in the WAC, will open the 2013 season on Thursday, Aug. 29 at Utah and play its first Mountain West game the following weekend at Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 7. USU's first home game of the 2013 campaign will be on Saturday, Sept. 14 against Weber State, while its first home Mountain West game will be on Saturday, Oct. 12 against Boise State.
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.
All practices during fall camp, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 24, are open to the public.
Utah State Football Practice Dates, Times and Location Fri., Aug. 2 --- 2:15 - 4:15 p.m. (Practice Field) Sat., Aug. 3 --- 2:15 - 4:15 p.m. (Practice Field) Mon., Aug. 5 --- 2:15 - 4:15 p.m. (Practice Field) Tues., Aug. 6 --- 2:15 - 4:15 p.m. (Romney Stadium) Wed., Aug. 7 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m. (Romney Stadium) Thur., Aug. 8 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m./4:55 - 6:25 p.m. (Practice Field/Stadium) --- First Two-A-Day Fri., Aug. 9 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m. (Romney Stadium) Sat., Aug. 10 --- 10:00 - 11:30 a.m. (Romney Stadium) --- Scrimmage #1 Mon., Aug. 12 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m./4:55 - 6:25 p.m. (Practice Field) Tues., Aug. 13 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m. (Practice Field/Stadium) Wed., Aug. 14 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m./4:55 - 6:25 p.m. (Stadium/Practice Field) --- Scrimmage #2 Thur., Aug. 15 --- 2:40 - 4:40 p.m. (Practice Field) Fri., Aug. 16 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m./4:55 - 6:25 p.m. (Practice Field)
FOOTBALL FAMILY FUN DAY, sponsored by Macy's Sat., Aug. 17 --- 6:00 p.m. (Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium) --- Scrimmage #3
Mon., Aug. 19 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m./3:55 - 5:25 p.m. (Practice Field) Tues., Aug. 20 --- 2:40 - 4:40 p.m. (Practice Field) Wed., Aug. 21 --- 2:40 - 4:40 p.m. (Practice Field) Thur., Aug. 22 --- 9:15 - 11:15 a.m. / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field) Fri., Aug. 23 --- 2:40 - 4:40 p.m. (Practice Field) Sat., Aug. 24 --- 12:00 - 2:00 p.m. (Romney Stadium) End of Camp NOTE: All dates, times and locations subject to change.
Quotes From The First Day of Utah State Football Practice
Senior Cornerback Quinton Byrd
On playing again after last year's injury:
"It feels great and it's a blessing to have a second opportunity to come back out here and compete with my guys. I missed them with what was supposed to be my senior year last year, but hopefully this year I can get it done and be a part of it."
On how the secondary did today:
"We did great. There was a lot of energy out here with guys flying around. The summer workouts helped us out because the guys really have their plays down and we didn't have many missed assignments today."
On the defenses play overall:
"It all starts upfront with those big guys, they get their penetration and that makes everything easier for the linebackers and secondary and it is easier for us to read everything."
Junior Linebacker Zach Vigil
Thoughts on the first day of practice:
"Everybody was flying around so it looked good today for a first practice. The defense did some good things and the offense did some good things, so there was give and take on both sides of the ball. What I liked the most was the enthusiasm that both sides had, that was good to see."
"For being the first practice, everybody knew their assignments and that is the biggest part of playing fast is you have to know what you are doing. I think for the first day, with what we had installed, we moved well."
On finally practicing after summer workouts:
"It is so much better than just running and lifting. This is the best I have ever felt at the start of a season. Nobody is worn down and everybody was moving around so that was good to see."
On how excited the team was to start practice:
"So excited. You get the gitters and you start watching more film and you really start thinking about what you have to do to prepare yourself for the season. You can feel it in the locker room and obviously it translated out onto the field today, we were running around well."
Senior Wide Receiver Travis Reynolds
Thoughts on the first day of practice:
"The first day of camp for the wide receivers was pretty good, but I feel like we need to work on some things. It was Day 1, so people are going to come out here tight and anxious to play and it's a lot of guys first time. We're a young group with Travis Van Leeuwen and me as the only veterans and seniors. I feel like for the most part we had a good, productive day, but we still need to come back and clean up some things for Day 2.
On developing chemistry with Chuckie Keeton:
"Over the summer I have just been getting out there and working on extra routes with Chuckie and getting our timing and we have really developed trust with each other. We're very comfortable with each other and over the summer we just got closer."
Does this offense feel the pressure of the season?
"It's pressure, but I tell my guys to relax because if we relax we play better. I just motivate them and the most important thing is to just relax and come out here and be yourself and do what got you here. Just play your game."
Junior Quarterback Chuckie Keeton
Thoughts on the first day of practice:
"The first practice today was kind of what we expected. It was a little dry at first, but with a head coach like we have he definitely got the energy into us very quickly. We are definitely excited about where this team is headed. Defensively, they came out firing on all cylinders and in return we just had to adjust and we had to get back on track. We managed to do that a little bit toward the end, we just have to find a way to execute at the end of plays."
On the excitement of practice starting:
"It was definitely exciting. You kind of dread the summer because you know how long it is, but it's always the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It's one of those long-term things that you just have to keep in mind through this grind; not just this summer, but through this camp."
On how the new guys are adjusting to the program:
"The new guys are adjusting. We did a lot of player-run practices in the summer, but you don't have the eyes of your head coach and your assistant coaches on you with every single move you make. The new players are definitely going to embrace the leadership role of the older guys and take hold of it and if they follow along they're going to develop very well and we're going to have a good team at the end of the year."
Do you feel any added pressure heading into this season?
"I really don't feel too much pressure. I know the guys around me definitely have my back. It's a beautiful think with what we have and I think we have a good team. But then again, it's only the first day and we have a long way to go and a lot to develop."
On being promoted for the Heisman Trophy:
"It's definitely an exciting thing, but I can't really look that far ahead. It's one of those things that's at the end of the season and it's all this work that builds up to that. It's not really just my name on that card, it's a whole bunch of guys on there."
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