Utah State football: 4 takeaways from Aggies media day
The Utah State Aggies football team opened fall camp on Friday, and before that, new head coach Blake Anderson met with the media on Thursday.
“It’s good to start,” he said. “The wait to find out what this group can be is always the fun part. “
Anderson was quizzed on a variety of topics for about 30 minutes. Here are four key takeaways from his comments.
Logan Bonner, who started for Anderson as a quarterback in his previous Arkansas state stop, has moved to Utah state, and many believe he will beat Andrew Peasley for the post this fall.
Anderson said that assumption is premature as Peasley performed well at the Spring Ball and has maintained his level for the past several months.
“It’s an open competition,” Anderson said. “I was very clear with Logan who missed the spring like he did and was only really released a few weeks ago, Peasley is going to take the first shot with the 1s and Logan can take the second shot with the 1. I don’t know. Maybe it’s a series by series, and we’ll let them compete on a large scale.
“I feel like Peasley has separated himself enough from the rest of the group in the spring, and obviously the experience that we have and the amount of experience that Logan has of actually playing at the Division I level, we’re going to let these two guys go.
Anderson was asked if he had any concerns and he pointed out the depth of the lines, especially the offensive line.
“I’m really concerned about the depth of the offensive line,” he said. “We’re talented, but we’re not very deep. I would say the same thing to you inside the defensive line. Feel good with the people we’ve added, but we’re not real, really deep, so depth is a concern.
There is a lot of uncertainty behind, especially after leader Jaylen Warren moved to Oklahoma state. Anderson has said he hopes someone emerges as a leader, but that has yet to happen.
“What I saw in the spring was a lot of guys who looked a lot alike,” he said. “I would love for a guy to really stand out this fall and have us have a feature film back. That’s where my mind goes, but I’m sure it’s the particular piece we have yet. This is what the fall camp will be.
“I think we have the luxury of playing against a handful of guys who are all very efficient. It’ll be interesting to see if any of them really stand out, and if they do, they’ll have more litters.
Linebacker Justin Rice
Next to Bonner, another player who followed Anderson from Arkansas State is linebacker Justin Rice, who had played for Fresno State before ASU.
In other words, he knows both the Mountain West Conference and Anderson, and he’s been very productive in both places. Last season at ASU, he led the nation in tackles for the loss with 18.5, and the year before, he received All-MWC honors.
“He’s in the best shape of his life right now,” Anderson said. “He really raised his work ethic. I challenged him a lot. It was probably his biggest loophole, it’s just constant daily work. He changed that.
“He and (strength and conditioning coach) Paul Jackson really hit it off. He’s been extremely successful in this area, and I think he’s matured a lot, just on a personality level, and it shows in his leadership with the guys in defense. We expect a lot from him, we put a lot of pressure on him. He’s the defense quarterback. I expect him to play at an extremely high level, and I think he’s physically put himself in a position where he can.