Aggie Defense Controls First Scrimmage of Fall Camp Saturday Morning
Sophomore running back Joe Hill rushed for 100 yards on 17 carries with one touchdown during Utah State's first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning. (Photo by Tim Olsen,

Aug. 11, 2012

LOGAN, Utah -

Utah State Scrimmage Statistics Get Acrobat Reader

Video Highlights and Interviews from Saturday's Scrimmage

Utah State's defense provided most of the highlights during the team's first scrimmage of fall camp Saturday morning on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium with five interceptions and nine sacks as the team practiced for nearly two hours with an estimated 105 snaps of the football.

Offensively, Utah State scored three touchdowns and added a field goal as sophomore running back Joe Hill had 100 yards rushing on 17 carries with one touchdown, while sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton was 11-for-17 passing for 113 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Utah State's defense controlled the early portion of the scrimmage as it held the Aggies' offense to just five yards during its first four series, culminating in a 33-yard interception return by senior cornerback Will Davis.

Other Aggies with interceptions Saturday included one each by senior cornerback Jumanne Robertson, senior safety McKade Brady, freshman cornerback Devin Centers and junior safety Cameron Sanders who returned his pick 50 yards.

Utah State's offense finally got going during its next series as junior running back Robert Marshall rushed for 31 yards on a fourth and one to set up a 7-yard touchdown run by Hill to cap a nine-play, 75-yard scoring drive. During the nine-play drive, USU ran the ball eight times.

Freshman placekicker Brock Warren converted a 20-yard field goal on USU's next possession as it stalled at the 3-yard line after covering 63 yards in nine plays.

Utah State's other two scoring drives came from the arm of Keeton as he connected on a 50-yard pass to junior wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen on the first play of a series, and later hit fellow junior wide receiver Travis Reynolds from 11 yards out to cap a 10-play, 50-yard drive.

Other standouts on the defensive side of the ball Saturday included senior defensive lineman Al Lapuaho and redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell who accounted for four of the team's nine sacks with two apiece. Players with one sack during the scrimmage included sophomore defensive lineman Tevita Vaifoou, junior linebacker Zach Vigil, senior linebacker Forrest Dabb, junior cornerback Nevin Lawson and redshirt freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold.

Utah State, which is entering its second week of fall camp, will hold its second two-a-day on Monday, Aug. 13 practicing from 9:15 to 11:15 a.m. and again from 4:55 to 6:25 p.m. USU will also have two-a-days on Wednesday and Friday next week, to go along with single practices Tuesday and Thursday morning.

Utah State's second and final scrimmage of fall camp will be on Saturday, Aug. 18 at 2 p.m. on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium as part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day, which is sponsored by Macey's.

All practices during fall camp, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 25, are open to the public.

For the first time since 1996, the Aggies will open a season with back-to-back home games, hosting a pair of in-state foes in Southern Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30 and Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. (MT) starts from Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium. The Aggies' game against Utah will be on ESPN2.

Season tickets and two-game packages can be purchased in person at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Fans can also buy tickets over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1, or online at

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at or on the USU football blog at Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Utah State Football Practice Dates, Times and Location
Mon., Aug. 13 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)
Tues., Aug. 14 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am (Practice Field)
Wed., Aug. 15 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)
Thur., Aug. 16 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 17 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)
Sat., Aug. 18 --- 2:00 pm FOOTBALL FAMILY FUN DAY, sponsored by Macy's
                  (Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium) --- Scrimmage #2
Mon., Aug. 20 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)
Tues., Aug. 21 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)
Wed., Aug. 22 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)
Thur., Aug. 23 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 24 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)
Sat., Aug. 25 --- 12:00 - 2:00 pm (Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium)
End of Camp
NOTE: All dates, times and locations subject to change.


HEAD COACH Gary Andersen
Opening statement:
"Overall it was a good run, probably around 105 snaps or somewhere right in there. It was one's versus two's the whole day and every kid got a rep which was one of our major goals, getting in a lot of snaps and getting every kid a rep on the field. There were some big plays on offense and there were some big plays of defense. Two of our biggest questions when we walked in was our ability to stop the run on defense and our ability to pass protect to allow us to throw the ball down the field. I think you can see that we have work to do in both areas. There were to many picks, to many big plays by the defense and to many sacks. Offensively, I thought at times they were able to run the ball very effectively, and it was one's against two's so it should be a little lopsided, and it was at times. We got into a lot of situations, first time with the officials and we had minimal penalties, a couple of holdings and a few pass interferences, but I am okay with those penalties because those are contested balls. Overall, it was a good week, the kids played extremely hard and they played pretty clean for the most part. The officials tried to call it as clean as they could and that is what we ask them to do at this time of the year. We're excited for a good start to next week and excited for the next 10 hours of film, should be fun."

On the big plays defensively:
"I think we have a lot in on defense, the goal was on defense to come into camp with a very heavy playbook and I think that is probably part of it. I think we are more talented, I think we were getting after the passer and I think the defense has a good mentality right now. They believe they can rush the passer, but the bottom line is it doesn't matter what the scheme is or what your mentality is. When you have good players you have the opportunity to put pressure on the quarterback and I believe that has drastically improved up front for the defensive line during camp and throughout practice, those young men made it important and they are playing better. The same could be said for the outside linebackers. It is good to see, but we all know that the pass protection is a heavy emphasis in this camp and we need to continue to improve on it."

What did you think of Joe Hill's performance today?
"Well we only had one back left at the end of the scrimmage and that was Joe Hill. Joe is a very tough-minded kid and he needs some help at the running back position. Obviously, we could have brought Kerwynn (Williams) in but there was no need in that situation. Joe is a tough young man, he is very quiet, but when he gets on the field he is very excited about playing. He has some explosiveness, every rep for him is very important, and I would imagine that he will be a pretty tired young man tonight when he lays his head down on his pillow."

How do you feel your quarterback's performed?
"I think both of them had some success today, Chuckie Keeton made some big plays. We are going to have to look at those picks very closely, sometimes when there are picks it is not always on the quarterback. It could be a route that was run the wrong way or the timing in the situation or pressure on the quarterback, we are going to go back and study the tape. This is a tape that we will spend countless hours on as a staff and we will evaluate the quarterback position as well as every other position on the team, and we will see how we move forward."

Talk about the impact the players out of Florida have had on this team?
"They are all good players, good kids who are excited to be in Cache Valley and a part of our team. The Florida kids who have come in here are a very tight knit group and they have adjusted very well. Look at the production and how well they play during their career and there is a good reason why we go to Florida to get young men to come to our program."

How did you feel about the kicking game today?
"There was no order today, just a matter of the guy who was up for the day. It has really gone back and forth and we put them in some tough situations. The good thing about it is there is stiff competition there. We all know that is another area of improvement and needs to improve from the last three years for us to be able to contend and win a WAC championship as well as getting to a bowl game and winning a bowl game. The kicking has got to improve as far as percentage, so that is what we are looking for and it is a huge competition right now. These kids are handling the competition well and we just have to get the pressure on them."

Which players stood out Saturday?
"There are a lot of kids out there, I think Kyler Fackrell has had a tremendous camp and he was good again today. I think McKade Brady has done a nice job of orchestrating the back end of the defense. Brian Suite, who is a brand new player, at times things are a little bit quick for him, but overall he has been good. The play of Jake Doughty and his toughness week in and week out, day in and day out, has been impressive. The defensive line has improved and I know you can't believe that I am actually saying this, and they probably won't either, and will have a bad practice on Monday now. The pass rush was impressive today and that causes the offense a real problem when you can get after them."

On today's scrimmage:
"Today's scrimmage was a pretty good one for being the first one. We didn't start out fast enough as an offense in my opinion, but that's something that can always be fixed. We were just too slow from the quarterback position all the way to the offensive line. It's really just getting back into the rhythm of everything, and I think we'll pick it up the upcoming week."

On Joe Hill's performance:
"Joe ran the ball phenomenally hard. He's known for being the fast guy on the team, but he's really been showing his power and his durability. That's one thing that's really going to help us this season."

On the touchdown pass to Travis Van Leeuwen:
"It wasn't necessarily designed that way, but it definitely gave us a good match-up. We had Travis Van Leeuwen on one of our redshirt freshman cornerbacks and he ran a great route. I was just lucky enough to put it in the right spot."

On catching up after missing a few practices this week:
"I don't think I've been really behind because I'd been practicing up until this week. Really it's just a mental game, that's the thing about playing quarterback. As long as I knew what I had to do at the given time or play, I'd be okay. I knew my offensive line was going to give me time. I knew our backs would give me time and I'd just be able to stand back and deliver the ball."

On the defensive pressure today:
"It's give and take. That's the game of football. We can't expect perfect protection every time, but I know they'll give us enough time to get the ball off."

On today's scrimmage:
"I feel like today was a pretty good day. It went back and forth and it was good for a first scrimmage. We fought through it and played hard."

On the offense's struggles until Robert Marshall's 31-yard run on fourth and one:
"It happens. We start up a little slow, but once we get going it's hard to stop us."

On personal success today:
"I was just trying to fight through it. A couple of running backs went down so I was the only one. I was just trying to push through it and fight hard, just do my best."

On improvement from last season:
"I'm just trying to work hard and bring an impact to the team."

On being known for more than speed:
"I can take hits. I'm durable. I've gained 10 pounds since last season and gotten better. I feel like I can do it all."

On current state of the offense:
"We're in pretty good shape right now. It's still the beginning and we have stuff to work on, but we'll be ready for the first game for sure."

On defense harassing the quarterbacks:
"That's been a huge emphasis, especially since Coach (Dave) Aranda came in. He showed us a lot of tape from the professionals and taught us a lot of techniques. We work on it every single day. It's paying off."

On today's personal performance:
"I think I did good. I've improved since the last scrimmage of camp and definitely since spring. It's got a lot to do with coaching. I've been working on my footwork."

On the defense attacking:
"We try to be aggressive. We bring in pressures and a lot of blitzes and our corners are great. So it's okay when we play man-to-man."

On the defensive strength until the fourth and one play:
"That was just a missed assignment and miscommunication and we didn't keep the edge. The momentum can swing fast like that, so we just take it as something we have to improve on. We can't make those kinds of mistakes."

On the benefit of playing on the opposite side of Bojay (Filimoeatu):
"I love having him over there, he's a stud and he's solid. If they try and stay away from him, it just creates more opportunities for me to make plays."



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