LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State's football team held its seventh practice of the 2017 season Friday afternoon and the offensive linemen continues to build chemistry among its group as the Aggies are less than three weeks away from kicking off the regular season.
"We obviously have a long way to go after losing three starters from last year's team and then trying to get this thing rolling again," said offensive line coach Steve Farmer. "It's a work in progress. It's a little bit up and down right now. We've had our days where we have come out and played really well, and we've had our days, such as today, where we've taken a step back."
Utah State must replace three all-Mountain West performers on the offensive line from a year ago in out-going seniors Austin Albrecht, Jake Simonich and Austin Stephens. In fact, those three combined to play in 130 career games and made 106 starts.
Fortunately for Utah State, it returns two starters from last season in senior offensive tackle Preston Brooksby and junior offensive guard KJ Uluave. Brooksby played in all 12 games last season, making 11 starts, while Uluave has played in 14 games over the past two seasons and made four starts a year ago.
In all, the Aggies' offensive line returns four players who have played in a combined 35 games with 16 starts.
Newcomers who participated in spring drills and will compete for starting jobs in the fall include junior transfers Roman Andrus, Rob Castaneda and Quin Ficklin. Players who joined the team in the summer include sophomore transfer Moroni Iniguez, and freshmen Chandler Dolphin, Alfred Edwards, McCord Meyers and Wyatt O'Banion.
"Roman's doing a great job," said Farmer. "I'm excited about him. He's still learning the position and there's some nuances we have to continue to grow on. Moroni (Iniguez) has been a nice addition. We picked him up this summer. I'm excited about him. He's still in the process of learning. He's much more comfortable at just playing offensive line than Roman, with Roman coming over from the D-line. However, it's just him figuring out the offense. We need some guys to step up in to leadership roles, that's probably what we're missing the most right now."
"I'm really proud of how the O-line has been working," said Andrus. "Definitely, we're coming together better as a unit. We still have a lot of work to do, but I'm happy to be with these guys, the guys we have in our room and in our position. I'm looking forward to it.
"We've had glimpses of greatness, I'd say. We're coming off the ball really hard. We've had a couple days of practice where we've ran the ball very, very well. I think that there's definitely a lot of room for improvement in certain areas. Like I said, we still have to come together, but it's coming along very well," added Andrus.
Friday was the seventh 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).
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.
Defensive Player of the Day
Sophomore defensive lineman Jacoby Wildman continues to impress during fall camp as he had four tackles, including two tackles for loss on Friday.
Co-Offensive Players of the Day
A pair of running backs get the nod here as junior Justen Hervey and freshman Tre Miller both showed good speed and power. Hervey had 10 carries for 65 yards, including a pair of 3-yard touchdown runs, while adding three receptions for 15 yards. Miller finished the day with eight carries for 45 yards and one score.
Newcomer of the Day
Junior linebacker Ofa Latu had five tackles and a fumble recovery during practice No. 7 as the linebacker corps continues to impress during fall camp.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL PRACTICE DATES, TIMES AND LOCATION
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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