<em>This is the first in a series of previews of the 2016 Utah State football team.</em>
LOGAN – Steve Farmer is bringing 17 years of coaching experience to Utah State. The new Aggie offensive line coach spent the previous six years coaching the offensive line and tight ends as the assistant head coach and offensive coordinator at Louisiana-Monroe.
Senior offensive tackle Jake Simonich said in the few months Farmer has been at Utah State, he has noticed that Farmer understands the team culture and what the offensive line is trying to accomplish.
“He’s totally on board,” Simonich said. “We’re all synced up together and we’ve really grown a solid relationship over the last few months.”
The offensive line did have two key losses from last season to now. Ben Wysocki finished his senior season last year and Tyshon Mosley was unexpectedly dismissed from the team in May. Mosley, who would have been a junior, started in nine games and played in 10 during the 2015 season.
Between Simonich, tackle Austin Stephens and center Austin Albrecht, Farmer has a group of experienced seniors he should be able to build a solid line around. All three started in all 13 games last year and have 60 total starts at USU. Couple that experience with some veteran talent at the tight end position and quarterback Kent Myers should have some extra time to do what he needs to do before the defense gets to him.
At this point in the preseason, it is giving the team some confidence.
“We’ve been playing games with Kent (Myers) for a while now,” he said. “We’ve won a lot of games with him. With all the returning offensive linemen, we’ve talked about it multiple times, but we’re feeling really good about our position right now.”
As for the other two spots on the line, the Aggies have a senior, two juniors and two sophomores who have game experience with USU. There are also some several newcomers and transfers who could make a statement during fall camp.
“What we do have and what I’m confident in through development and recruiting is a bigger, deeper pool than what we’ve had to choose from in years past,” head coach Matt Wells said. “We’ve had, as two guys graduate, about three candidates for two spots, but we have a legitimate eight guys for those jobs.”
Simonich said those new guys are going to have to “develop and grow very quickly.”
“We’re going to need some guys to step up after losing … two guys this year,” he said. “We’re going to need some other guys to mature and come a long way in a short time.”
This being his final year, Simonich wants to pass help those younger guys learn what he has learned in his five years with the USU football team.
“This is really my last semester to take what I’ve learned from the Kevin Whimpey, Eric Schultz and Tyler Larsen guys,” he said. “To use what I’ve learned from them and use it to teach those guys. I want those new guys to carry it on when I leave.”