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Utah State football concluded its second scrimmage of fall camp under the lights on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium Wednesday night under fourth year head coach Gary Andersen.
After allowing nine sacks and throwing five interceptions in its first scrimmage, USU’s offense showed improvement Wednesday, as it did not commit a single turnover and allowed just four sacks.
Utah State’s first team offense had plays early on during the scrimmage taking the initial drive 68 yards in seven plays before stalling inside the 10 and settling for a 25-yard field goal from junior place kicker Josh Thompson. Two series later, sophomore quarterback Chuckie Keeton scored on a 1-yard run to cap a 7-play, 65-yard drive.
Utah State had two more scoring drives toward the end of the scrimmage in red zone situations as sophomore place kicker Jacob Haueter connected on a 37-yard field goal, and sophomore running back Joe Hill scored on a 2-yard run.
Keeton finished the scrimmage 9-of-18 passing for 120 yards, while adding 25 rushing yards on three carries including a 29-yard scamper during a two-minute drill. Senior wide receiver Cameron Webb caught eight passes for 101 yards including a long of 30, and Hill finished the night with 53 yards rushing on 12 carries including one score.
Offensively, Utah State finished the scrimmage with 103 rushing yards on 41 carries and two touchdowns and was 17-of-33 passing for 159 yards as senior quarterback Adam Kennedy was 6-of-12 in the air for 34 yards.
Senior running back Kerwynn Williams and senior wide receivers Matt Austin and Chuck Jacobs did not participate in Wednesday’s scrimmage on the offensive side of the ball.
Defensively, redshirt sophomore safety Brian Suite continued his impressive play during fall camp recording a safety to go along with two sacks Wednesday night. Redshirt freshman linebacker Kyler Fackrell and junior defensive end Connor Williams also recorded one sack apiece.
Utah State also saw some positive plays from its special teams including a pair of blocked field goals from freshman cornerback Dredan Snowden. USU kickers converted 9-of-14 field goals overall, including a long of 53 yards by Thompson.
Utah State, which is in its second week of fall camp, will now practice Thursday from 3:45 to 5:15 p.m., on the USU practice fields before returning to its normal two-a-day schedule Friday.
Utah State will conclude its second week of fall camp with a situational scrimmage as part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day, on Saturday, Aug. 18 beginning at 2 p.m.
All practices during fall camp, which concludes on Saturday, Aug. 25, are open to the public.
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.
Utah State Football Practice Dates, Times and Location
Thur., Aug. 16 --- 3:45 - 5:15 am (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 17 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 4:55 - 6:25 pm (Practice Field)
Sat., Aug. 18 --- 2:00 pm FOOTBALL FAMILY FUN DAY, sponsored by Macy's (Stadium)
Mon., Aug. 20 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)
Tues., Aug. 21 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)
Wed., Aug. 22 --- 9:15 - 11:15 am / 3:55 - 5:25 pm (Practice Field)
Thur., Aug. 23 --- 2:40 - 4:40 pm (Practice Field)
Fri., Aug. 24 --- 2:40 - 4:40 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
“Overall, one’s versus two’s, I thought that the one defense played very, very well. The two offense never really got anything going, at all. One offense was better at times. I thought Chuckie (Keeton) did a nice job of taking the one’s down the field and get an opportunity to get a touchdown and get a field goal in the drive sessions. Red zone was just okay; backed up (against goal line) was not very good. I thought the offense was improved but not where we need to be, by any stretch of the imagination. The defense kind of flew around, not as many big plays, not as many picks. The opportunities for players to make plays, I think, presented themselves much more for the offense today.”
“We had some kids not make plays in certain situations, which they have to. The special teams, two great punt returns and two great learning clips of how not to deal with a punt while it is in the air. Those are two young kids doing that back there. We need to be better and we will, but they’ve got some explosiveness and it will be interesting to see how they progress from there. Field goal kicking was poor. It needs to improve, so we will have to see.”
Thoughts on going for it on fourth down inside the 40-yard line?
“Inside the 40? The 40 we will go for sure. We will see what happens. We will have a kicker that will be all right. At the end of the day, they’ll answer the bell and we’ll be okay. We had a couple of protection problems today, also in that area; a lot of work to be done. It is good for those kids to get those blocks but we’ll see how it goes. Everybody has challenges starting with me, so I have got to get them better. That is the bottom line.”
On the play of Cameron Webb:
“Cameron Webb did a great job. Cam played very, very well and had some key catches. I think he and Chuckie (Keeton) got a little connection going, which is great to see. Especially when your two top receivers don’t play and you can’t under-estimate that for the offense either. When you don’t have Matt Austin and you don’t have Chuck Jacobs, it is hard. You don’t have Kerwynn Williams either. It gets really tough and two brand new backs that are basically half the time being told what to do because it is a fairly complicated offense just being in it for two days. I thought Cam did a nice job and stepped up and made some nice plays for us.”
On the running back situation looking toward the season:
“Right now I don’t think we saw exactly what we wanted to see out of them tonight. It was tough sledding; the defense did a nice job against the run for the most part, on both sides. Neither one of them took a jump over the other one and I don’t think anyone will walk away from here tonight saying, ‘Yep, Kelvin (Lee) and Abou (Toure), that is our third back.’ We don’t know yet so we are going to have to get some very structured practice time for those kids and let them understand the playbook and see where we go. They are going to get an opportunity to get to do some things on Saturday.”
What about the offensive line, where are they at?
“I feel pretty good about the offensive line, especially about the first five and I feel pretty good about the first eight, I really do. They are starting to work together. After that we are a very, very young offensive line just like we are a young football team, 16 seniors and there are four or five of those young men that are freshmen that will get better as the season goes on. If we can stay healthy up there, I like the crew. They are tough, they are physical; they’ve got a nasty streak to them and they love to compete. So we will see how it goes; got to get better at pass protection, but I thought it was better today than it was in the first scrimmage.”
On appearance of defensive line winning battle of the trenches tonight:
“I don’t know, we will have to see when we watch tape. I am sure there is some give and take. There were some nice runs, but the defense has run well to the ball all camp long, except right now they are priding themselves in getting turnovers. Did they have a turnover today? There may have been one, but that was not what they want and I think 85 snaps is what we had. They are running hard, they are playing hard and they have got a little edge to them, which you have to if you are going to be any good.”
Do you feel like the defensive line and others are responding to your motivation?
“Yes, I think they are getting better. I believe that they are playing harder, I think that their technique has improved. I think that their mind-set to understand what Division I football is all about and how tough it is in the trenches, if you are going to beat a good team you are going to play against an offensive line that is really going to want to take you into the fourth quarter and pound you in the ground. Really at the end of the day, they want to hurt you and that is what Division I football is about, at the end of the day for those offensive linemen. Defensive linemen have to have that mentality; that they want to be those guys to take the game over. Getting better, still a work in progress,yes, but I am proud of those kids in this camp. I have been on them and I will continue to be on them. They know that and they won’t expect anything less.”
On the status of D.J. Tialavea:
“A work in progress. He is in the pool now jogging, moving around. You can see that the crutches are basically going to be gone. We will see. I think the next 10 days we will see quite a bit of progress with him.”
On the status of any of the other injured players:
“Joey DeMartino is a four-week guy. He’s got a broken bone in his arm. We’ll see, it is about a four-week deal. Robert Marshall, progressing pretty quickly, which is good to see. We will see how fast he can get back but pretty healthy again tonight which is a positive. I hope Cameron (Webb) is okay, I haven’t got in to see him yet but it appeared that he was moving in the right direction when he was on the field and that was the last time I saw him.”
Did you see any separation at the quarterback level tonight?
“After two scrimmages I don’t know how you can’t say that. No question about it, Chuckie (Keeton) played good in the first scrimmage and I think Chuckie was pretty good again tonight. He gave us an opportunity to make some plays with his legs, which we know he can do and he also threw the ball fairly well. It’s a tough sled when you get in there with the two’s and the one defense, but you still have an opportunity to make plays. When the one’s are in they should produce against the two defense. If we are going to be a good football team, it should be lopsided and go that way. It wasn’t quite that way tonight, the way you want to see it but the first two drives were. We did a nice job the first two times. The one offense was on the field, I thought it was good. We couldn’t finish in the red zone, which is a negative, but those were both Chuckie. I don’t think anybody who has watched these past two scrimmages could say there has been no separation.”
What about coach (Ron) McBride being here?
“I love coach (Ron) McBride. I asked him to come up. This is the first year I have had an opportunity to do that because he is not coaching in the fall. He just loves these kids. It is just amazing how many of the kids he actually knows and spent some time with them. It has been a fantastic time for us and he will be here hopefully for the rest of the week. You could learn a lot from him, we could all learn a lot from him. You guys know my feelings for him. He is like a second dad for me and for him to be able to come up and evaluate a program that I am basically in charge of is something that I value a great deal. I thank Vicky for letting him go. Maybe Vicky is thanking me for getting him out of the house, it could go either way.”
On coach McBride saying that the offensive line is going to be pretty good:
“Yes, if ‘Mac’ says that it is like me saying that about the defensive line. So that is probably a pretty good thing. It has been great having him here and hopefully he can stay for awhile.”
SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK CHUCKIE KEETON
Thoughts on the scrimmage:
“We had a good showing. The biggest thing was we wanted to start fast and finish strong. We started out much faster than we did last week. It was a big day for the offensive line; they really stepped up. Cameron Webb had a phenomenal game. We ran the ball pretty well and it was a good scrimmage overall. Personally, there are still some things I need to work on. We put in a few new things this week that I need to get down. Zach Vigil got the best of me on one of them and that was completely my fault. So there are definitely some things to work on this upcoming week.”
On the receivers making good catches:
“They really did. Our receivers have definitely been stepping up. This is going to be a good year for them.”
On having better execution tonight as compared to the first scrimmage:
“I really think we did, just because we came in with the right mind-set. Compared to the last scrimmage, we treated this one a little more like a game. We had our game plan, we had set plays that we used in certain situations and we just locked in from the first snap.”
On being worried during some of the executions:
“We weren't really worried. Some of it was covered, but that's something we have to live with every once in awhile. It's something we can work on and we can just move on from here.”
On running options with quick whistles:
“It's stressful. One of my roommates is La'Bradford Harold and he's still claiming that he sacked me on Saturday. I had to stare him down a little on his run. It's better for the whole team, just because we know our limits. That's being able to be coached is the way I see it. All I can do is do my job. If that means I'm getting touched one-yard up, then let it be.”
On how he feels physically:
“I feel okay. My body is still a little bit worn-down from my knee, but I'll be 100 percent by the time the season starts.”
On Cameron Webb’s scrimmage:
“On the sideline he was saying how he wasn't used to getting the ball that much, but when you have a hot hand that's catching everything that comes their way, you've got to feed it. He's turning out to be a very good player. He's put in a lot of work and he deserves what he's getting right now. Not sure if he has a concussion, but he'll be okay by the time a game comes around, so that's all that matters.”
On receivers possibly being the most improved this year:
“It's hard to say because we've made big strides in so many areas. I can't really say it's all them, it's also been the quarterbacks. We've been making better decisions to help them out. We've been giving them more open lanes and that's a big thing. Our offensive line has really stepped up, giving us more time and not making us rush our throws. Our backs being able to run the ball has taken off some of the pressure when it comes to the pass game. Chuck Jacobs and Matt Austin sat out today, and whenever they come back they're going to be valuable assets to us.”
JUNIOR DEFENSIVE END CONNOR WILLIAMS
Thoughts on the scrimmage:
“I felt the defense played really well, we came together. We played a little flat but our spirits got picked up and the back end played really well. We're starting to come together and that's a positive sign.”
On how the group is coming together:
“It's just work, work, work; work every day. During the summer we'd be the first group up here and the last ones to leave. We put in that extra time. Coach Andersen called us out this spring, so that's what we've been doing. It's showing results now, so that's good. It was needed (being called out) and it's been for the best. He gives us the credit when it's deserved, but he doesn't give us easy pats on the back.”
On getting the better of the offensive line:
“It goes back and forth each and every day. It's a battle. A sign of a good team is when each side wins some battles, and I think that's how today went.”
On having a lot of guys on the defensive front:
“We like to keep our attack fresh [and] the guys up front fresh and keep the new faces in there. I believe we're on our way to have three there, strong and deep. (Travis) Seefeldt has come along great. He started out slow coming over from the offensive line, but he's picked it up quick and he has a bright future ahead of him. Sini (Tauauve'a) played really well today. He came in this summer and has worked hard, and that's showing on the field.”
Doug Hoffman is the assistant athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.