SALT LAKE CITY — As Utah State looks to bounce back from an ugly win against Southern Utah, it has the full attention of the Utes and head coach Kyle Whittingham.
In his weekly press conference, Whittingham spoke about preparing for Utah State. "On to Utah State. That's where our entire focus is now," Whittingham said. "We're watching all of the film. They do a great job on offense, they're very creative and do a good job of getting defenses outflanked."
Whittingham spoke highly of the entire Utah State defense but has been especially impressed by linebackers Kyler Fackrell and Nick Vigil. "They're both playmakers. Fackrell is an exceptional pass rusher, they move him around. He'll be one of the best pass rushers we see all season long. Vigil is a tough, hard-nosed, instinctive linebacker who plays the game the way it should be played. I'm very impressed with both of those guys." Both Vigil and Fackrell will be key in slowing down Devonte Booker and the run game of Utah.
Whittingham also spoke to the discipline Aggie defensive coordinator Kevin Clune has brought to the USU secondary. "They're very sound. Kevin Clune, the defensive coordinator, was a grad assistant here [in 2001-2002] and really has taken a lot of the principles, things we do here and things he studied with him and has been successful at the University of Hawai'i and now Utah State," Whittingham said. "The thing that really jumps out at you is the soundness of their scheme. Fundamentally and technique-wise, they're very good and they very seldom blow coverages or assignments. They're very disciplined, they play hard and run to the football." If the Aggies want a chance at winning this game they need the secondary to come up with some big plays and no mistakes.
The Battle of the Brothers is the oldest rivalry in either school's football history. The Utes and Aggies will meet for the 112th time this Friday night. The Aggies' first game against Utah was back in 1892. The Utah State vs. Utah series is tied for the 14th-most played series in the nation at the Football Bowl Subdivision level and is tied for the 23rd-most played series in all of college football.
Moving forward, the future of the series is in limbo, but Whittingham believes it will continue. "It's been a heck of a rivalry. It's been very competitive, I can tell you that, especially as of late. Our guys look forward to it. Like I said earlier, we better be at our best if we're going to have a chance to win this football game. Going forward in the future, I'm not sure what the plan is. My guess is that it will stay intact, maybe not every year, but most years I could see it being played, but we'll have to see."
Utah State (1-0) kicks off its first road game of the 2015 season at Utah (1-0) on Friday at 7:05 p.m. in a game that will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
Parker Robertson is a graduate of Utah State University, a freelance contributor and an avid fan of sports. Follow him on Twitter @ParkerRob78 Email: ParkerRobertson18@gmail.com