Utah State football: Aggies look to live up to expectations
College football » Utah State will be counted upon “to continue what we started last year.”
By Tony Jones
| The Salt Lake Tribune
First Published Aug 30 2012 12:09 am • Last Updated Aug 29 2012 11:32 pm
Logan • Robert Turbin, Bobby Wagner and Michael Smith are gone from Utah State, making their mark in the NFL with their play during the preseason.
Even missing those critical pieces, though, expectations remain high for the Aggies.
Entering their final year in the Western Athletic Conference, the Aggies are seeking to go out as league champions. And following its first bowl appearance in more than a decade, USU is planning to make it to the postseason once again.
Thursday’s season opener against Southern Utah at Romney Stadium (6 p.m.) marks the Ags’ first stop on their road out of the WAC and into the Mountain West Conference next year.
"For us as a staff and as a group of kids, it’s awesome to see how much excitement there is in the community with the start of the season right around the corner," said Utah State coach Gary Andersen. "Everyone is excited about it. I hope that we are able to play that way as we go forward. Hopefully the place is jumping on Thursday night."
The Aggies have certainly made an impression on their opponent. SUU head coach Ed Lamb calls USU the "hottest team in the state," and said that the Aggies are "without a weakness."
With Brad Sorensen leading a high-powered offense, the T-birds are certainly capable of making life difficult for Utah State. Still, the Aggies are sizable favorites heading into the season opener.
Andersen this week has declined to name a starting quarterback. However, all signs point to sophomore Chuckie Keeton being the guy who will take the first snap, barring a last-minute change of heart by the coaching staff. According to USU observers, Keeton has outplayed rival Adam Kennedy during preseason camp.
Both quarterbacks are expected to receive playing time, although how the snaps are divided remains to be determined. USU will also play its first game with a new offense, and two new coordinators in Matt Wells (offense) and Dave Aranda (defense).
"This has been a very successful camp, and we’re looking to make this a successful season as well," junior center Tyler Larsen said. "With Southern Utah, we’re just ready to get up there and play our first game. We’re ready to continue what we started last year."