LOGAN, Utah – Rob and Big, Mutt and Jeff, the Fox and the Hound, Oscar and Felix. All are stories of the unlikeliest of characters who came together and became the best of friends. The Utah State football team has a pair just like that in the senior duo of running back Josh Flores and tight end Tarren Lloyd. At 5-foot-5, Flores is the shortest player on the team, while 6-foot-7 Lloyd is one of the tallest. “When we first got here, we were both freshmen staying in the dorms during camp. Ever since then we’ve just kind of had this thing,” Lloyd said. “Sparks just flew, I guess.”Flores echoed Lloyd’s memories.”I just remember talking to him a few times and he seemed like a cool guy. Then through camp, when you’re both new freshmen, you just seem to bond with people,” Flores said.Flores and Lloyd have definitely formed a unique bond between them, and it stretches beyond the boundaries of the football field.”We’re always hanging out after games, after practice, on the weekends,” Lloyd said. “On the field we’re always joking around, but being serious and trying to stay focused on football, helping each other out.”Both grew up in Utah, as Flores is a native of Logan, while Lloyd is from Bountiful, and both came to Utah State in the fall of 2007 as walk-on members of the team who worked their way up to scholarship players. “You always hear that hard work pays off, and for me that’s what happened. I worked hard; I kept my mouth shut and just kept going, and it paid off,” Flores said. “It was cool for Tarren and I to both be walk-ons and both end up with scholarships.”In a way though, Flores said that he thinks it would have helped to not keep his mouth shut so often. “Once you become a senior, you need to be helping younger players through and speaking up more,” Flores said. “It probably would have helped me better now if I had learned quicker to be more vocal.”Playing Division I football is a great way to learn lessons that apply in life both on and off the field. The physical rigor of the game, the dedication to a group of people and working around a demanding schedule are all things players will experience in the real world and are lessons learned easier now rather than later.”You learn how to be a man, how to be an adult,” Flores said.Both Flores and Lloyd have learned many valuable lessons during their time as Aggies, and both hope to take these lessons beyond USU.Lloyd plans on becoming an EMT and firefighter after college and said the things he’s experienced and learned as part of the USU football team will play a huge role there. “I’ve learned a lot of leadership and teamwork,” Lloyd said. “I try and lead by example and will continue that in the future.”Flores said the biggest thing he has learned is to “keep going, keep working towards a goal.”The days leading up to and during the football season are long and busy, trying to balance classes, practice and other parts of day-to-day life. Living a schedule like this for five years has developed habits they both hope to keep after graduation. “The only times you’ll have a schedule like this is if you’re in the military or playing football,” Flores said.Through five years as Aggies, these players have been through a lot of changes, particularly among the coaching staff.Lloyd said it was kind of a shock to everyone when former head coach Brent Guy left Utah State, but that it definitely worked out alright under current head coach Gary Andersen. “We’ve started going in the right direction I think,” Lloyd said.”I’ve loved the past two years with Coach Andersen. Every change he’s made has been for the better,” Flores said. Both will agree that the morale and the atmosphere of Utah State football have improved since Andersen’s arrival. “The way Coach Andersen organizes the whole program, he’s truly there for all the players. We are like his kids to him,” Flores said. “He’s always out there trying to do the best for us.”It’s not just Andersen who boosts up the players, though. “Coach Tuiaki is always trying to teach us life lessons, all of them are, which I think is half of being a coach,” Flores said of his position coach, running backs coach Ilaisa Tuiaki.Lloyd and Flores both had a hard time picking just one thing as their most memorable moment of their time at Utah State. They have been through a lot of ups and downs as a team, as friends and on an individual level. They have grown and risen from walk-ons to scholarship players, handled coaching changes and overcome injuries to get to where they are today. Laughing, Flores said, “I’m sure plenty of people will say beating BYU, but I don’t know. I think this whole year will be a great experience. I’m loving how we’re looking this year. I’ve gotten closer with more of the players.”Lloyd said he will never forget his first touchdown as an Aggie. “It was here against BYU, and I’m a Utah kid so that was kind of a big thing,” said Lloyd while standing in the end zone where he made his catch during his redshirt-freshman season of 2008.As a team, however, he said it would be the game at the University of Idaho in 2009.”It was back and forth the whole time and we ended up winning, so it was just a good way to end the season,” Lloyd said.Throughout five years in the Aggie program, Flores and Lloyd have seen players and coaches come and go, but through it all they know they are going to make a lot of friends and a lot of memories. These are not years that will be quickly forgotten.”I’ve thought about it plenty, being my last year,” Flores said. “It’s stuff like coming out of the tunnel for Senior Night, having your buddies that you’ve been through five years of this with. It’s just a cool thing to think about, to know you’ve played Division I college football. You talk to plenty of people that have never gotten that chance.””I definitely have a lot of pride in this university,” Lloyd said. “It’s been tough but fun. It’s made a better person of me.””Going through five years of tough football is something I’ll always remember,” Flores said.With their senior season underway, Lloyd and Flores are ready to take it by storm. If you ask any Aggie football player, and they will immediately tell you their goal for the season is to become Western Athletic Conference Champions, these two won’t hesitate to agree. “As a team, we’re truly trying to get the WAC Championship. A bowl game, yes, but taking the WAC is the main goal. We get that we’re automatically in a bowl,” Flores said. “We’re just trying to put together wins.”Lloyd seconded his friend’s thoughts. “We want the WAC Championship and to win a bowl game,” Lloyd said.Flores and Lloyd have been through a lot together these last five years and have made the most of it. Their friendship stays the same as they move on and off the field. They are there for each other and try to help the other succeed. -USU-
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