LOGAN, Utah – Spring practice officially opened for Utah State football on Tuesday, with roughly 90 Aggie players taking to the turf of Romney Stadium for their first practice of spring camp 2010.Tuesday was the opening of USU’s 15 practices of spring camp, which concludes with the annual Blue-White Spring Game on Saturday, April 24. All practices will be held at Romney Stadium, unless bad weather forces them inside the Laub Indoor Practice Facility. All practices are closed to the public until the first open-to-the-public practice Saturday, April 3, while Saturday scrimmages on April 10 and 17, and the Spring Game on Saturday, April 24 will also be open to the public.Head coach Gary Andersen and his staff put the USU squad through drills and situations in Tuesday’s two-hour practice. The Aggies were in their NCAA-mandated attire of shorts, practice jerseys and helmets, but Andersen liked what he saw in the opening practice of spring camp.”The first days are always up tempo. The kids were excited and the coaches were excited. I thought they handled that part of it very well,” said Andersen, who is in his second spring at the helm of the USU program. Andersen and the Aggies will return 45 letterwinners (21 offense, 22 defense, two special teams), including 19 starters (eight offense, nine defense, two special teams), from last season’s 4-8 squad. This is Andersen’s second spring at the helm of the USU program, and the coaching staff and the players feel more comfortable this spring with a year of experience with each other under their belts.”It has been a lot smoother this year. Last year we didn’t know how Coach Andersen was going to do things and he didn’t know about us. This year we knew what to expect. We knew the tempo and knew everything would be fast,” said junior-to-be linebacker Bobby Wagner. Wagner played inside linebacker last season but is shifting to outside linebacker this spring, one of the changes installed by Andersen and his staff.”There are a lot of new things coming at them, especially on defense. We are doing quite a few tweaks from some of the things we did a year ago. I thought overall the kids hustled around. They are excited to be here and competitive. It will be a fun tape to sit back and watch,” Andersen said. “Until we put the pads on it is still pretend football, so we will see. It is great to be out here again.”Andersen’s excitement for being in action was echoed by his players.”The first day was fun. I think overall the team came out strong. I am sure the coaches were surprised with the tempo on both sides of the ball. Overall it was a good practice. I felt good about everybody, from offense and defense to special teams. The first day was pretty good,” said junior-to-be wide receiver Matt Austin, who missed last season with an injury.Tuesday gave the players an early look as to what to expect this spring.”We are just trying to see where we are at on offense and defense. We need to get the little things down before we put the pads on. We are working to make sure everyone is in the right position and doing everything they can do to make the offense and defense better,” Wagner said.Utah State finished Andersen’s first year at the helm of the USU program with a 4-8 mark, the Aggies’ most wins since 2002. Utah State was 3-5 in WAC action, matching last season for top conference record in USU’s five seasons in the league. The Aggies were tied for fifth in the final league standings, USU’s highest-ever finish in its time in the conference and the best league finish since tying for fourth in the Sun Belt Conference in 2004.The Aggies have six home games in 2010, including a nationally-televised game on the ESPN network for the second-straight season, as the USU-BYU game on Friday, Oct. 1 will be televised by either ESPN or ESPN2.Utah State football season ticket renewal applications have been mailed out. Fans can also renew online 24 hours a day at www.UtahStateAggies.com and clicking on the “buy/renew tickets” under the “tickets” drop down menu.For more 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.-USU-
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