Aug. 16, 2000
LOGAN, Utah - After three days of two-a-day practices in helmets and shoulder pads, the Utah State University football team was able to dress in full pads and start full contact drills on Wednesday.
The Aggies donned full gear in the morning session of Wednesday's two practices and enthusiasm was evident from both coaches and players as the team was able to start hitting.
"It helps because it gives them an opportunity to play football instead of patty cake," said USU head coach Mick Dennehy. "You go through the motions and there are only certain things you can get done without the pads. It helps pick up the spirits a little bit because all aggressive kids like to hit, so it helps from that standpoint."
Tight end Scott Collins, who missed the last eight games of last year after undergoing shoulder surgery, enjoyed the full-pad workout.
"It was nice to be hitting again," Collins said. "It was nice to be banging heads with the real deal. You get back in hitting shape and get your head back used to it. The new guys get to see how much of a faster pace it is."
Defensive end Nick Onaindia was also glad to be able to tackle a ball carrier.
"It was fun," Onaindia said. "It was nice to get in some real hitting and just to go against the offense and see how you look instead of just going against yourself on defense. We need to pick it up and start hitting hard again and get used to the pads again.
Dennehy was not only excited to see his team start hitting on each other, but was pleased with the progress he has seen from both the offensive and defensive units.
"I think we are ahead of where I expected us to be at this time," Dennehy said in the afternoon. "It is not perfect, but we are way ahead of where we were in the spring. The kids are bouncing around and I like their attitudes. I am optimistic. We have a long way to go and we have to grow a lot, but if the kids will keep working together and continue to play with the same effort and things like that, we will have a chance."
Quarterback Jeff Crosbie and the offensive line drew Dennehy's praise after practice. Utah State will continue two-a-day workouts and will hold a controlled scrimmage on Saturday. The Aggies open the season at Texas Tech on Sept. 2. USU season tickets are available by calling the ticket office at 1-888-U-STATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.
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