Utah State football sees solid play on both sides of the ball in situational scrimmage Friday

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State’s second scrimmage of spring practice saw positive plays on both sides of the football as the Aggies concluded their fourth week of spring drills with a roughly 80-play scrimmage on Merlin Olsen Field inside Romney Stadium Friday afternoon.

Utah State’s defense performed well during the first three series of the scrimmage, before the offense finally got on the board during its fourth series as junior wide receiver Bruce Natson took a backward pass from sophomore quarterback Darell Garretson and hit junior wide receiver Brandon Swindall for a 40-yard touchdown pass to cap a 5-play, 50-yard scoring drive.

Following a three-and-out on its next series, the Aggie offense scored points on five of its next six possessions with four touchdowns and one field goal. Junior linebacker turned running back La’Bradford Harold started the scoring with a 10-yard touchdown run to cap a 5-play, 50-yard drive, and sophomore running back Karris Johnson scored from 1-yard out to cap a 60-yard drive that took 10 plays.

Utah State’s next points came via a 42-yard field goal from senior placekicker Nick Diaz on a drive that started on the defense’s 25-yard-line. On the next series, which also started from the defense’s 25-yard-line, senior quarterback Craig Harrison hit freshman wide receiver Damoun Patterson from 14-yards out. The next scoring drive for the Aggie offense originated on the defense’s 12-yard-line as sophomore running back Kennedy Williams scored on a 3-yard run.

Utah State’s final points of the scrimmage were from Diaz as he converted a 27-yard field goal to cap a 12-play, 55-yard drive during a two-minute drill.

Offensively, Swindall finished the scrimmage with five receptions for 118 yards and one touchdown, while junior wide receiver Brock Bird had three receptions for 57 yards and Patterson added three receptions for 30 yards. Harrison was 10-of-17 passing for 151 yards and one touchdown, while Garretson was 9-of-16 passing for 70 yards. Redshirt junior running back Rashad Hall had nine carries for 27 yards, while Harold finished with 19 yards on five carries and one touchdown.

Defensively, sophomore cornerback Jentz Painter had seven tackles and two pass breakups, while senior linebacker Zach Vigil had five tackles, and junior safety Marwin Evans finished with four tackles, including one for loss. Freshman linebacker Chase Christiansen added two tackles and recovered a fumble in the only turnover of the scrimmage for the offense.

Utah State will practice next Tuesday from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. and next Thursday from 6:00 to 8:00 a.m., before concluding spring drills on Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. with its annual Blue vs. White Spring Game, presented by Orbit Irrigation Products. Admission to the spring game is free.

All practices are scheduled for Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium unless inclement weather pushes them to the Stan Laub Indoor Football Complex. All practice times and locations are subject to change.

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.

2014 Utah State Football Spring Practice Dates

Tues., April 8 – 3:00 – 5:00 p.m.

Thur., April 10 – 6:00 – 8:00 a.m. – No Pads

Saturday, April 12 – 2:00 p.m. – Blue vs. White Spring Game

– USU –

UTAH STATE FOOTBALL SCRIMMAGE QUOTES

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>HEAD COACH MATT WELLS</span>

<strong>Opening thoughts on scrimmage:</strong>

“We protected and threw the ball well and we caught the ball well. I thought there were some bright spots on offense. But then I go right back to the red zone where they got the ball at 1st-and-10 on the 25 and we make three mistakes, then miss a field goal. On the flip side, we’ve been in the top one or two in the nation in touchdowns given up in the red zone the last two years. That’s another good sign for our defense.”

“I’m proud of our players for the way they practice against each other. We know how to compete, we know how to go hard and it will make us a better team. Going into the last week of spring ball, we have two practices and the spring game. These guys are finishing this thing the right way. I’m proud of the way they competed today.”

<strong>On Brandon Swindall standing out:</strong>

“Yeah, he should. He’s played a lot the last two years and it’s time for him to be that guy. We talked to him a lot the past couple days about just playing at a high level, very consistently.”

<strong>On the young linebackers:</strong>

“I’ll tell you what, Ian Togiai, Chase Christiansen and Alex Huerta just need a million reps and they’re going to get a million reps, they’re going to get their lips bloodied and they’re going to get up and keep battling. Those three young guys are all going to play. We’ll see if that’s in an expanded role or a legitimate role through the summer and come training camp. My little saying is that if you’re going to bite when you’re a puppy, you’re going to bite when you’re a big dog. They’re not real strong yet and they don’t know the whole defense yet, but they bite. They play hard and I’m excited those three guys are in the program.”

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>SENIOR SAFETY FRANKIE SUTERA</span>

<strong>Thoughts on scrimmage:</strong>

“I think we gave up too many plays on defense. We didn’t have any picks, which was disappointing. We need to improve on that. Our goal is four turnovers a day, so we didn’t meet that one.”

<strong>On his hard hit on Jefferson Court:</strong>

“It knocked the wind out of me a little bit. Next time I won’t get him so hard. I tired to lay off, but the football in me wanted to hit him as hard as I can.”

<strong>On Coach Wells’ hopes for the secondary:</strong>

“He’ll tell us if we’re not showing up and if we need to show up more and make more plays and just be better than we were last practice. We just need to constantly improve. I think today, especially the young guys, were playing really hard and with a lot of effort, which was good.”

<strong>On finishing the spring strong:</strong>

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing. We need to keep being physical and create turnovers and play fast. Last week we had a few rough days. Even if we’re making mistakes, we just need to have the attitude that we’re going to be faster and run harder and play harder than the other guys. If we do that every day we’re going to improve and finish out spring well.”

<span style=”text-decoration: underline;”>SOPHOMORE QUARTERBACK DARELL GARRETSON</span>

<strong>Thoughts on the scrimmage:</strong>

“I thought it went alright. We finished the day off with the two-minute drill that went really well, so that was a plus. We struggled the past couple of days with that, so it was nice to get that field goal to ‘win the game.’”

<strong>On the double-pass touchdown:</strong>

“I had one job to do, I just had to get the ball to JoJo (Bruce Natson) behind me. That was a pretty good ball for a wide receiver. He’s funny. He has a personality that is awesome and makes things enjoyable.”

<strong>On using last year’s experiences to help him now:</strong>

“Just getting a lot of reps was the main thing about spring. I’m becoming quicker with everything. Getting thrown into the fire (last year) like I was, you get a good feel for the game. We went on a really good run thanks to the defense. The game has really slowed down for me. It’s not as fast as it was that first game against Boise State. Everything has slowed down really well and it’s going good.”

– USU –

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