LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State's football team held its first official practice of the 2017 season Friday afternoon as 103 players dressed in helmets, practice jerseys and shorts for the two-hour workout on the USU practice fields. Among the group were 14 returning starters (6-offense; 8-defense) and 38 returning lettermen (16-offense; 20-defense; 2-specialists), including 18 seniors.
All practice reports during fall camp are being brought to you by R&O Construction.
Fifth-year head coach Matt Wells was pleased with what he saw from his team on Day 1.
"We played with good tempo today and I saw good communication and guys lining up well," said Wells. "There are a lot of guys out here that are bigger, stronger and faster than they have been, but we still have a lot of work to do.
"The area we are really focusing in on right now is in rebuilding both the lines, the O-line and D-line, so we will know more in a week or so."
One position the team does not have to rebuild is the secondary as Utah State returns five starters and seven letterwinners there from last season, including senior safety Dallin Leavitt, who liked what he saw from USU's defense on Friday.
"I thought the guys played hard today," said Leavitt. "As a defense, there are a million things to clean up, but I thought the effort was there. I think we have a deep secondary and an experienced team."
Offensively, Utah State will look to quarterback Kent Myers, and the senior was excited to be back on the practice field after a long off-season.
"It felt good to be back here today after going 3-9 last year," said Myers. "Everybody was ready to come out here and prove that we are one of the best teams in the Mountain West. Today went well, it was a fast tempo and a quick practice, and I thought everyone did well."
Highlights from Friday's practice included a senior wide receiver in Jaren Colston-Green, and two redshirt freshmen defensive backs in Baron Gajkowski and Ja'Marcus Ingram. Colston-Green had four receptions for 120 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown during live drills, while Gajkowski picked off two passes and posted four tackles, and Ingram had three pass breakups and three stops.
Friday was the first of 24 practices for the Aggies leading up to their season-opening game at No. 10 Wisconsin on Friday, Sept. 1, at 7 p.m. (MT) in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN. Utah State will host Idaho State on Thursday, Sept. 6, at 6 p.m., in its home opener, and begin Mountain West play on Saturday, Sept. 23, at San José State at 5:30 p.m. (MT).
As part of the NCAA's five-day acclimation period, Utah State will again be in shorts and helmets on Saturday, then add shoulder pads on Monday and Tuesday. The Aggies' first practice in full pads will be on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Utah State's first two scrimmages will be closed to the public, but fans are invited to its last scrimmage as part of Family Football Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's, at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 19, at 2 p.m.
For ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Fans can become season ticket holders for as low as $110. New for 2017 are Value Season Ticket Plans, which include four adult season tickets on the east side of the stadium starting at $450. Youth season tickets are available for just $60 and Family Plans, consisting of two adult tickets and three youth tickets, can be purchased for as low as $340.
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.
Offensive Player of the Day
Senior wide receiver Jaren Colston-Green looked sharp during the first day of fall camp as he had four receptions for 120 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown.
Defensive Player of the Day
Redshirt freshman safety Baron Gajkowski picked up right where he left off during spring practice as he intercepted two passes on the day, while adding four tackles.
Newcomer of the Day
Redshirt freshman defensive back Ja'Marcus Ingram had an impressive first day of fall camp as he had three pass breakups and three tackles.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL PRACTICE DATES, TIMES AND LOCATION
Sat., Aug. 5 --- 2:10 - 4:15 p.m. (Practice Field)
Mon., Aug. 7 --- 2:10 - 4:15 p.m. (Practice Field)
Tues., Aug. 8 --- 2:10 - 4:15 p.m. (Maverik Stadium)
Wed., Aug. 9 --- 2:10 - 4:15 p.m. (Maverik Stadium)
Thurs., Aug. 10 --- 2:05 - 2:50 p.m. (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 11 --- 2:10 - 4:00 pm (Practice Field)
Sat., Aug. 12 --- 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. (Maverik Stadium) --- Scrimmage #1 (Closed)
Mon., Aug. 14 --- 2:10 - 4:00 p.m. (Practice Field)
Tues., Aug. 15 --- 2:10 - 4:00 p.m. (Maverik Stadium)
Wed., Aug. 16 --- 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. (Maverik Stadium) --- Scrimmage #2 (Closed)
Thurs., Aug. 17 --- 4:35 - 5:25 p.m. (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 18 --- 2:10 - 4:00 p.m. (Practice Field)
Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's
Sat., Aug. 19 --- 2 p.m. (Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium) --- Scrimmage #3
Mon., Aug. 21 --- 1:35 - 3:40 p.m. (Practice Field) -- Practice Closed
Tues., Aug. 22 --- 1:35 - 3:40 p.m. (Practice Field) -- Practice Closed
Wed., Aug. 23 --- 1:35 - 3:40 p.m. (Practice Field) -- Practice Closed
Thur., Aug. 24 --- 9:00 - 9:50 a.m. (Maverik Stadium) -- Practice Closed
Fri., Aug. 25 --- 4:25 - 5:10 p.m. (Practice Field) -- Practice Closed
Sat., Aug. 26 --- 9:10 - 11:15 a.m. (Maverik Stadium) -- Practice Closed
End of Camp
NOTE - Scrimmages on Aug. 12 and Aug. 16 are closed, as are all practices after Aug. 19.
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