LOGAN, Utah -
Donning shoulder pads for the first time in training camp, Monday marked the third day of practice for the 2017 Utah State football team. To see how camp is progressing, we spoke with assistant head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach Frank Maile, senior cornerback Jalen Davis and senior running back LaJuan Hunt following practice.
Frank Maile - Assistant Head Coach/Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line Coach
What are your impressions of the defense through three practices?
"Not bad, I'm pretty impressed. We brought in some new recruits, especially with the linebacker corps. We brought in five or six new guys, and they have impressed me. They're exactly what we thought they were. I think they're going to help us this fall. That's a huge upgrade of where we needed to fill in spots from all the guys we lost last year. I've been impressed with the mentality and work ethic they've put in. So, through three practices, it's been solid. I've been pleased, and I'm very encouraged about where we're headed."
What have you seen from the linebackers through three practices?
"You see a lot of speed and a lot of athleticism. We brought in Louy Compton, and I think a lot of offensive tackles are going to struggle trying to block him off the edge. Maika Magalei is another kid with the outside backers, and even Jamaal Evans, a kid from Centennial High School in Las Vegas, Sulia Tamaivena, Ofa Latu are other linebackers. It's very impressive so far. We have to keep pushing them in the right direction and make sure they understand it mentally, but physically they have it, we just have to get them there."
What are your observations of the defensive line thus far?
"They've been solid and they continue to climb every day. I'm glad we didn't take any steps back from the spring."
Jalen Davis, Senior Cornerback
What are your impressions of the defense through three practices?
"Camp has been going good for the defense. We have been emphasizing turnovers and ball search this whole entire camp, and the first three days have been excellent. We've been getting tons of turnovers and have had tons of people ball searching, so it's been great."
Does the depth in the secondary create a new dynamic on the team with how much competition there is?
"Oh yeah, there is tons of competition out here. You could see it out here today. We were getting interceptions here and getting interceptions there. People are just separating themselves so they can earn a starting spot."
What areas of the game are you trying to improve on individually during fall camp?
"I'm trying to improve on everything. I need to improve on everything, especially my man coverage."
LaJuan Hunt, Senior Running Back
What are you working on individually during fall camp?
"I'm focusing on being patient and letting our zone-blocking scheme open up holes for me. I'm working on being a better protector and trying to get better all around."
What changes do you see for the running backs under Coach Yost?
"We are going to be more involved and he'll have different ways of getting us the ball. From the passing game, screens, hot routes, outside runs and inside runs. We'll be very productive."
Have you seen your role as a leader evolving since becoming a senior?
"That is something that I felt was required, to be a leader because I am a senior. I've been here so I know the culture. I'm here to bring the younger guys along and show them how we do it, because we need to get back to where we were my freshman year. Being a senior, I feel like I am in that leadership role where I need to lead by example."
Monday was the third 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 shoulder pads on Tuesday before holding its first practice in full pads 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.
All practice reports during fall camp are being brought to you by R&O Construction.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL PRACTICE DATES, TIMES AND LOCATION
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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