Aggies open spring practice in search of QB

Aggies open spring practice in search of QB

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LOGAN, Utah (AP) -- One very big position is up for grabs during Utah State's spring football practice.

The Aggies need a starting quarterback.

Riley Nelson, who took over the job as a freshman midway through the season, is serving a church mission and won't rejoin the Aggies until 2009.

Leon Jackson III was the starter entering the last two seasons, but was replaced by Nelson after the Aggies lost their first five games.

"The quarterback situation is going to be one of interest with Leon coming back as a starter during the last two seasons," said coach Brent Guy, who is entering his third season at Utah State. "There is going to be a lot of competition at a lot of positions, but that particular position will be an important race for us."

The Aggies opened spring practice Wednesday and are scheduled to begin full-contact drills Monday.

Junior college transfer Sean Setzer, sophomore Jase McCormick and senior Mike Affleck will be competing with Jackson for the quarterback job. The Aggies will conclude their spring practices April 13 with the annual scrimmage.

Jackson has the most experience of the bunch. He completed 73 of 150 passes for 694 yards and three touchdowns last year, but also threw seven interceptions.

Utah State went 1-11 last season and has 19 starters returning, including seven on offense. This spring is also the first chance new offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey has to see his players live.

Utah State is also looking for a new tailback because Marcus Cross, who led the team in rushing last fall, left the program after just one season to transfer and be closer to his family.

The Aggies have 11 starters back on defense and five other defensive players have started at least four games.

Utah State also have 13 players who redshirted last fall and will be trying to make an impression this spring.

"We have more depth than we have had for spring ball since we have been here," Guy said. "This is where we should be in the development of the program."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.) APTV-03-21-07 1735MDT

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