USU Football Opens Practice Monday Hitting On All Cylinders

LOGAN, Utah – Donning helmets, practice jerseys and shorts, the 2011 edition of Utah State football took to the sun-drenched turf of Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium on Monday to open fall camp.Utah State kicked off Gary Andersen’s third season at the helm of the Aggie program, and the USU head coach was pleased with what he saw in the first day, but knows his team has room to improve.”Overall for our first day as a whole I would say that there was some good, some bad, we’ve got a lot of new faces out their who have to understand tempo and feel the sense of urgency,” Andersen said. “Again, it is just the first day and I don’t want to be to critical on things, but overall I expected more from the first day initially. Sometime when I go back and watch the film, I look back and say it wasn’t bad but right now it was just an average first day.”Andersen was especially pleased with several of the newcomers, singling out junior college transfer wide receiver Chuck Jacobs, who had several impressive plays during Monday’s first practice.”Offensively and defensively one young man that really jumped out to me was Chuck Jacobs at wide receiver, he made some nice plays for us and was a late addition to the team as we came through because we have been recruiting that guy all year long,” Andersen said.Other highlights included long pass plays by senior tight end Tarren Lloyd and sophomore wide receiver Rashard Stewart, as well as long runs by senior running back Michael Smith, along with junior running backs Robert Turbin and Joey DeMartino. Defensive highlights included some backfield disruption by senior defensive end Levi Koskan and senior linebacker Bobby Wagner, as well as an interception by junior defensive back Quinton Byrd.Turbin is returning to action after missing the entire 2010 season with an injury and the junior was glad to be back practicing.”Obviously it is a very exciting day for me and our football team, and very exciting for a lot of guys to get back on the field. I felt like today was good, it could have been a little more crisp but football is a game where you are going to make mistakes and we will correct them and get better,” Turbin said. “It feels good. Being out for a long time, not being able to play and missing the camaraderie in the locker room and being with the guys on the field and having fun. I am having fun; I am having a good time.”Andersen also announced that four former walk-ons have earned scholarships, awarding them to sophomore defensive back McKade Brady (Cove, Utah/Sky View HS), sophomore linebacker Jake Doughty (Draper, Utah/Juan Diego HS), sophomore offensive lineman Jamie Markosian (Salt Lake City, Utah/Juan Diego HS) and redshirt-freshman defensive lineman Tevita Vaifoou (Hauula, Hawaii/Kahuku HS).”There are some kids in our program that we awarded scholarships to, Jake Doughty, Jamie Markosian and McKade Brady all received scholarships and those young men have done a terrific job for us. All three of those kids are Utah kids. Tevita Vaifoou also received a scholarship,” Andersen said. “There are several other young men who are going to fight for spots and we will see exactly where they sit as they come through camp.”Monday was the first of Utah State’s 29 preseason practices before the season opener against No. 19 Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 3 at 11 a.m. (MT).As part of the NCAA’s five-day “acclimatization period,” the Aggies will again be in shorts and helmets Tuesday and will add shoulder pads on Wednesday. USU’s first session in full pads is Friday and the first two-a-day is slated for Saturday, Aug. 7.Tuesday’s practice shifts to the practice field for the rest of the week. All practices of the preseason are open to the public. Fans are encouraged to stay in the stands when the team is practicing on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium and in the bleachers at the practice field. All open practices are subject to change.Andersen and the Aggies return 46 letterwinners (29 offense, 16 defense, one special teams), including 17 starters (10 offense, six defense, one special teams), from last season’s 4-8 overall mark, and 2-6 in WAC play, in Andersen’s second season at the helm of the Aggie program. USU’s preseason concludes with a scrimmage on Saturday, Aug. 27 at Noon as part of Utah State Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey’s Foods. The event provides fans a chance to meet USU football players and coaches, participate in games and activities as well as purchase and pick-up season tickets. Activities sponsored by Macey’s Foods will begin on the South Concourse of Romney Stadium. Season tickets as well as two-game packages will be also available for purchase at the USU Football Family Fun Day on Saturday, Aug. 27 at the Romney Stadium Box Office, which is located on the South end of Romney Stadium.After its season-opener at Auburn on Saturday, Sept. 3, Utah State’s home opener is on Saturday, Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. (MT), taking on in-state foe Weber State, marking the first time that USU and WSU have squared off since 2001, and Utah State leads the all-time series, 11-1. The Aggie-Wildcat match-up will have special meaning for Andersen, who will be facing his mentor, Weber State head coach Ron McBride. Andersen played for McBride at Utah in 1985-86.For USU football ticket information, contact the USU Ticket Office at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, or by phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or (435) 797-0305.Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics. USU Football Practice Dates, Times and LocationsTues., Aug. 9 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldWed., Aug. 10 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldThurs., Aug. 11 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice Field Fri., Aug. 12 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldSat., Aug. 13 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice Field ** First two-a-dayMon., Aug. 15 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldTues., Aug. 16 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium * ScrimmageWed., Aug. 17 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldThurs., Aug. 18 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldFri., Aug. 19 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldSat., Aug. 20 – 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. – Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium * ScrimmageMon., Aug. 22 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldTues., Aug. 23 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldWed., Aug. 24 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. / 4:55 – 6:25 p.m. – Practice FieldThurs., Aug. 25 – 1 p.m. – Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium * ScrimmageFri., Aug. 26 – 9:15 – 11:15 a.m. – Practice FieldSat., Aug. 27 – Noon ** Scrimmage – part of Aggie Football Family Fun Day – Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium **End of campAs of 8/8/11 – DATES, TIMES AND OPEN PRACTICES SUBJECT TO CHANGE

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