LOGAN, Utah – Utah State football held its 13th spring practice Tuesday afternoon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium and the specialists having been focusing on using each practice to create competition at every position on the field.
“Throughout spring ball with our specialists, there has been a lot of evaluation,” said special teams coordinator Mark Tommerdahl. “We’ve been trying to develop competition across each position and everybody has started at ground zero at all positions. Nobody’s job is secure right now, and that is not threatening, that is just reality.”
Utah State welcomes back two specialists who lettered during the 2016 season in senior LS Emmett Odegard and junior P Aaron Dalton. Another specialist returning who appeared in games last season is sophomore PK Dominik Eberle. USU also returns two more players who were members of the team last season in sophomore P Zach Lee and redshirt freshman LS Brandon Pada.
Odegard was Utah State’s long snapper in all 12 games last season, while Dalton was the team’s punter. In fact, Dalton has punted in all 25 games he has appeared in during the past two seasons and has career numbers of 134 punts for an average of 39.7 yards, including 46 punts downed inside the 20-yard line, with a career long of 69 yards.
As a true freshman in 2015, Dalton punted 13 times for 463 yards (35.6 ypp) in his first career game against Southern Utah (9/3), as those 13 punts are the second-most in both Utah State and Mountain West history, and a freshman record in both school and conference history.
“Spring practice has been going well,” said Dalton. “The punters have done well and the snappers have been really solid. The kickers are in a good competition right now and I think we have gotten better as a group since the start of spring ball.”
Eberle appeared in four games during the 2016 season and was 3-of-5 on field goal attempts, highlighted by a 3-for-3 performance at Nevada (11/19), which included a career long of 43 yards.
Utah State also welcomes three new specialists this spring and all three are placekickers in freshmen Jonathan Hagee, Ryan Miller and Michael Smith.
“Coach Tommerdahl definitely knows what he’s doing. He commands attention in the meeting room and he gets the most out of all his guys. Everyone really respects him and listens to what he has to say,” added Dalton.
Utah State will continue its spring schedule this week with its final practice on Thursday from 6-8 a.m., before hosting its annual Blue vs. White Spring Game on Saturday, April 8, on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium at 2 p.m.
Season ticket renewals are currently being accepted in advance of the March 31 deadline. To renew, fans should visit www.utahstateaggies.com or do so in person or by phone through the USU Ticket Office during regular business hours (435-797-0305). New season ticket orders can also be made at this time.
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<strong>2017 Utah State Football Spring Practice Dates</strong>
Thur., April 6 – 6:00 – 8:00 a.m.
Saturday, April 8 – 2:00 p.m. – Blue vs. White Spring Game