Aug. 18, 2012
LOGAN, Utah -
Utah State held its third and final scrimmage of fall camp Saturday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium as part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's. In all, fourth year head coach Gary Andersen ran his team through 70 plays, which included special teams, red zone and two-minute situations.
Aggie Football Family Fun Day started at 9 a.m. with youth football games and there were activities on the concourse, including sales by the USU Bookstore, along with games for fans of all ages, and fans could also purchase and pick-up season tickets. After the scrimmage, fans were allowed on the field to meet and get autographs from USU football players and coaches, as well as participate in games and activities.
"It's great for our kids to be out in front of fans," said Andersen. "I appreciate everyone who came. It was three quick practices back-to-back-to-back and they handled it well. We'll give them a day off and be back on Monday. We've still got a week of camp and we'll get ready to play."
Once the scrimmage started, Utah State's number one offense drove 61 yards in seven plays before settling for a 32-yard field goal from junior placekicker Josh Thompson. After that, however, USU's defense did not allow another score until USU started inside the red zone.
"I thought on defense, the ones played well early. Even late they did a nice job of making some plays and getting some stops, and they were good in the red zone. The offense started slow again. Chuckie (Keeton) got them down the field, but we have to finish that drive early, we really do. The offense was a little better with the first unit as time went on. Matt Austin and Kerwynn (Williams) both made some big plays, and that is good to see. Not finishing in the red zone is something we need to work on," said Andersen.
"The defensive push was not as good today, which means the offensive line protected much better and the defensive line didn't rush as well, but overall it was a productive day, we got everybody going. In a thud drill it's hard to really tell where people are down and what's going on, but I thought it was really positive. The kids handled it well," added Andersen.
With its number one offense on the field starting in the red zone, Utah State scored back-to-back touchdowns as sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton hit senior running back Kerwynn Williams with a 25-yard pass on the first play of the drive. On the next series, senior quarterback Adam Kennedy connected with senior wide receiver Matt Austin from 10 yards out to cap a 3-play, 12-yard drive.
Utah State's final touchdown of the scrimmage was during a two-minute drill as Kennedy connected with senior wide receiver Chuck Jacobs for a 24-yard touchdown to cap an 8-play, 80-yard drive.
Offensively, Keeton finished the day 10-of-21 passing for 118 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, while Kennedy was 10-of-18 passing for 71 yards with two touchdowns and one pick. Austin, who saw his first scrimmage action of fall camp, caught four passes for 75 yards with one score, while Williams also had four receptions for 39 yards and a touchdown. Williams also rushed for 58 yards on nine carries.
Overall, Utah State's offense rushed for 75 yards on 36 carries, while completing 23-of-47 passes for 202 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions.
Defensively, Utah State had interceptions from senior safety McKade Brady, redshirt sophomore cornerback Rashard Stewart and redshirt freshman linebacker La'Bradford Harold. Senior defensive lineman Havea Lasike added a fourth turnover with a fumble recovery, while senior cornerback Will Davis, sophomore safety Frankie Sutera and freshman linebacker Nick Vigil each posted a sack.
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 www.utahstateaggies.com/tickets.
Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.
All practices during fall camp, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 25, are open to the public.
Utah State Football Practice Dates, Times and Location Mon., Aug. 20 --- 9:00 - 10:30 am / 3:30 - 5:30 pm (Practice Field) Tues., Aug. 21 --- 2:40 - 4:30 pm (Practice Field) Wed., Aug. 22 --- 9:00 - 10:30 am / 33:30 - 5:30 pm (Practice Field) Thur., Aug. 23 --- 2:40 - 4:30 pm (Practice Field) Fri., Aug. 24 --- 9:00 - 10:30 am / 3:30 - 5:30 pm (Practice Field) Sat., Aug. 25 --- 12:00 - 2:00 pm (Stadium) End of Camp NOTE: All dates, times and locations subject to change.
UTAH STATE FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE QUOTES
HEAD COACH Gary Andersen
On Nick Diaz, the kicking game and special teams:
"He (Nick Diaz) is our kicker. That's the bottom line where it sits right now. Those kids came out today and overall, Nick has been the most consistent. All I can do with the kicker position right now is what I do with the whole football program, and that's play the kid who is producing at the moment. Nick produced at the moment he had to today. He'll go into that game and hopefully he can do what he was recruited to do. He's been here for two years, so it's time for him to step up and grow up and be a kicker. Brock (Warren) is inconsistent with his timing, but he has a tremendous leg and the ball jumps off his leg really well. I think he has a tremendous future. As we all know, there's a big difference when it comes to kicking off the ground."
"I think the other special teams were productive today and the kickoff return unit did a nice job executing. It's really not one's versus scouts when you see that, it's one's versus two's. The punting was good down in the red zone as far as getting people down and pinning them. That's going to be a vicious weapon for us. Snappers, if you don't say their name, do a great job and that's what Nate Needham does. He gets it to them all the time and does his job. Brian Suite tweaked his shoulder in practice yesterday, but he'll be fine and back. He does a nice job of holding. We've gone back and forth so much and I just want to get it as consistent as I can. Jaron (Bentrude) has done a tremendous job holding as well."
On the running back position and bringing Kelvin Lee in to fight for the second spot:
"Not really second, I feel good about Joe (Hill). I think Joe is ready to go. Robert (Marshall) will be back next week and I think he'll remain ahead of those guys for now. How long will that last? We'll see. We'll see if Kelvin (Lee) can bring him in. That's a heck of a process to go through. Right now it's Kerwynn (Williams) and Joe Hill, and Robert (Marshall) has held on to the number three spot despite being injured, so we'll see how he does when he's back. At the end of the day I think we'll have a running back corps that's different than last year, we all know that, but that can be very dynamic and explosive."
On the coming week's schedule:
"We're a little bit different this week. We're in camp another week before school starts, but we're ready to shift gears a little bit. Monday will be completely devoted to Utah. We'll have two practices, but go into our school mode. We'll meet in the morning, but then instead of going to school we'll come out and have a walk-through. We'll come back in the afternoon at 1:45 and go to our typical in-the-week practice. Then Tuesday we'll go to Wisconsin, it won't be a two-a-day. We'll do a walk-through without the ball, then come back in the afternoon. Wednesday we'll go right into Southern Utah."
SENIOR SAFETY McKade Brady
On how the defense was today:
"I think we did pretty well. The effort was really good, still some mental errors that we need to clean up. Other than that I think the young guys looked really good, but like I said a lot of things to clean up and not a lot of time to get them cleaned up. We've got to get back in, watch the film and clean everything up."
On getting more turnovers today than last scrimmage:
"Yeah, Coach (Dave) Aranda and the whole defensive staff has been stressing turnovers. We've always had opportunities, we just haven't capitalized on those opportunities. So we have been focusing on that and we did a good job of that today."
On his interception:
"Adam (Kennedy) rolled out of the pocket, start scrambling, I was supposed to stay back in my half but Jake Doughty came up so I just kind of filled in his zone and he threw the ball right to me. Right place, right time."
On Brian Suite, Frankie Sutera and other safeties starting to play better:
"All of those guys have been doing a great job. They have been in the film room a lot and it shows on the field. Brian (Suite) is a little dinged up but he will be back on Monday, it is nothing serious and he is a great athlete. Cameron (Sanders) and Frankie (Sutera) are also doing really well."
SENIOR WIDE RECEIVER Matt Austin
On being able to play in a scrimmage:
"It was actually nice to get back out there and get in a groove. I was winded at first but I started picking it up. I had to make some plays at the end of the game. We started slow, including myself. We didn't come out as we should have. We finished alright, kind of strong but we can do better because we are way better than that."
On scoring touchdown right after first catch was ruled not a catch:
"The first one was good. It was good, but they ruled it out. But hey, I was glad they came back to it and I did it again."
On if he gets enough practice and reps to get ready to play in games:
"Oh yeah. I'm practicing full go no matter how I feel. I'm practicing like I am in a game during practice, if that makes sense. In the scrimmages it is more so, you guys know I am injury prone, so we are trying to keep me healthy for the games. That is all that matters right now is the games. Practices, I still practice hard, like I said to get my wind out there and run the plays so I won't go out there clueless when the games come up."
On the wide receiving group having a lot of guys:
"Yeah, we've got a lot of depth. Some guys are stepping up, some guys are inconsistent, some guys are consistent. Again, we have a strong receiving core, I mean it is going to be somebody different everyday, you can count on it."
On the offense stalling in the red zone the past few scrimmages:
"We can't stop on the run game. We've got to run that power like we know we can and throw the fade like we did today, throw some fades and slants. I feel like we will be good. In games it is a different mentality. Some guys are a little sluggish today coming out on the field, a little hot, and we've got to get used to it. Again, that shouldn't be an excuse. We should be scoring in the red zone every time, nine out of 10 times when we are down there."
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