LOGAN – The Utah State football team was able to practice in full pads for the first time since spring when the Aggies took Merlin Olsen Field for a hot afternoon of fall camp Wednesday.
Head coach Matt Wells said the pads changed the atmosphere. He noticed his team came out with energy, but the heat may have eventually gotten to the players.
“I did not think we finished very well,” he said. “I think we got tired at the end.”
The defense stayed loud, and for the most part, kept the offense from moving the ball. Several interceptions, sacks and big hits gave players on the defense’s sideline reasons to cheer.
“They are playing with a lot of energy,” Wells said of the defense. “They are ahead of the offense right now. Typically that is the case a lot times in training camp. They are playing with tremendous passion and a lot of energy. Guys feed off of that.”
Domink Eberle was perfect in two tries on field goals with a long of 48 yards. Wells said he has liked punter Aaron Dalton’s performance through the last several practices as well.
The head coach singled out three different groups he is happy with. He said the secondary is playing well, that the offensive line is doing a good job protecting the quarterback and that the linebackers are further ahead mentally than they normally are at this point in the season.
The newcomers at linebacker, he said, are “no question” an upgrade athletically. Wells specified those as transfers Suli Tamaivena, Ofa Latu and Louy Compton; freshman Maika Magalei and redshirt freshman David Woodward.
“We look more like what we should look like at linebacker,” Wells said. “Those guys are big and they’re physical, and the biggest thing is that they can run.”
A concern is the receiving corps. Wells said the group has been “dropping way too many balls.” He said he hasn’t picked the starting five on the offensive line and those decisions are still “a ways away.”
“I’m not worried about that for another week or so here,” he said.
Tight end Dax Raymond left practice early, but it isn’t expected to be anything serious.
“He just got banged up,” Wells said. “He’s fine.”