USU football in 2018: Now we need to take the next step

LAS VEGAS — Not a lot of love for Aggie football here with the results of the media poll Tuesday, and the media’s selection of pre-season all conference offensive and defensive teams.

No one was surprised with the Defensive Player of the Year award going to Andrew Wingard the Wyoming safety or that Boise State quarterback Brett Rypien was designated Offensive Player of the Year.

Also, Boise State’s return specialist Avery Williams was named the special teams player of the year.

Just two Aggies made the pre-season all-conference teams, junior tight end Dax Raymond and placekicker Dominik Eberle.

It could have been worse: only one student-athlete each from UNLV, New Mexico, Hawaii and Colorado State earned pre-season all-conference recognition.

And, no one from Air Force or San Jose State was named.

And then there is the media registering opinions regarding how the teams will finish – top to bottom – in the final standings of the Mountain Division and the West Division.

In the Mountain Boise State earned all 22 first place votes, Wyoming is projected second, Colorado State third, the Aggies in fourth (four points behind CSU) then Air Force fifth and New Mexico sixth of the six teams.

In the West, in a closer vote, defending division champion Fresno State earned 16 of 22 first place votes and in total points edged San Diego State, 126-116.

(Each year, given the scheduling rotation used by the league, the Aggies play just three West Division teams, and this is one of the years the Ags avoid the talented Bulldogs and Aztecs.)

So, in the west it is Fresno State first, San Diego State second, UNLV third, Nevada fourth, Hawaii fifth and San Jose State sixth.

With 18 starters returning from USU’s fourth bowl team in five years, the Aggies have as much experience as any Mountain West team.

“Yes, and it is better than the opposite which was what we were talking about last year,” said sixth-year Head Coach Matt Wells. “We played with so many first year starters in 2017, that number for us was one of the highest in the country.

“That’s the biggest key this year that every one of those kids take a step individually in their progression and development. If enough do that, I would think based on that experience, we will have a really solid football team. Because I think those were a talented bunch of guys.

Wells admits the addition of a solid recruiting class could be another key to the team’s development.

“We have three transfers, a graduate transfer, two four-year transfers who could be starters or part time starters and certainly play major roles. So when you add those guys together with a couple of kickers (Eberle and punter Aaron Dalton) it’s comforting to know.

“Now we need to take the next step.”

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