USU head coach Gary Andersen addressed the media Monday in a conference call, recapping Saturday’s loss to Ohio in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl as well as recapping the season and previewing the off-season and spring.ON FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL:”It was a great environment, great game and a great chance for our kids to be there. We just couldn’t find a way to finish the football game, obviously. We really didn’t expect that game to go down to the wire. But with two good teams battling it out, it was a physical game on both sides of the ball. We were well prepared and took some things away from it. They made one more play than we did in the end. We had an opportunity to get the ball back but couldn’t get it down the field for the first down. They drove it down and scored on the last play of the game on a call that I’d call a hundred times over and over again in that spot. I like to either bring a lot of pressure there or drop eight in that situation. It was a tremendous experience overall.”ON THE SEASON:”In the long range of the football program I think we improved in all areas. We’ve become much more physical of a team and found ways to win games in the end. It’s a great stepping stone for us and we look forward to getting back on Jan. 9 and starting a new year. There were a couple of times this year that we weren’t quite in the spot physically we needed to be in. We want to get longer and stronger and even more physical. We had tremendous running backs that made some terrific plays for us and put us in spots to win games. Our offensive line has improved from a year ago, they’re more physical. Same thing on the defensive side. I feel like the defensive line started stronger than we finished. We need to become better and tougher in that spot. They’ll be challenged, and I’ll challenge myself in that way to get better.”REPLACING LINEBACKERS KYLE GALLAGHER AND BOBBY WAGNER FROM INSIDE THE PROGRAM:”Right now we’re working on identification from inside the program. There will be a mixture of change-ups in linebackers. Right now it’s a good opportunity for Bojay (Filimoeatu) to play inside linebacker. There’s a good opportunity for Tavaris McMillian to play inside. There’s also a good chance we’ll see Maurice Alexander move down and play a sweeping back position. Those are all things we’ll go through and look at. That gives us the best opportunity that puts Jason Fanaika at outside linebacker and Kyle Fackrell at outside. A lot of those tweaks will be made as we go, but I believe we have enough linebackers in the program to take care of the inside. Terell Thompson will come in, he’s been redshirting this year after an injury and Zach Vigil will be there. I feel very good about that. Plus we have Jake Doughty there ready to go play and do some things. We’ll create a competition, but I feel good about those outside linebacker spots as far as who we have. If we find a special young man we’ll take him, but we only have the one spot to fill. We only have three spots left to fill on the defensive side off the football, but going back to the inside linebacker is real simple. I want them here in spring. It’s very difficult to come in and play there without being here for spring ball. We’ll do everything we can to make that happen. I think Tavaris and Bojay will be very good at the spot. They have to be to be replacing two very good players.”SCHEDULE FOR SPRING:”Starting day of spring football is March 20. Right now that practice will start at 6:15 in the morning. Right now most our practices will be early morning, except for the scrimmages obviously. We won’t practice on Saturdays this year.”QUARTERBACK BATTLE:”I want to compete both those quarterbacks. There’s no question we want to create a competition. In my mind-set right now, walking into January and the off-season is that Chuckie Keeton started in the fall so I believe he’ll walk in with the upper hand. It is close though since Adam (Kennedy) had a good run and did some good things. It’s a consistent battle, but right now if Chuckie is healthy and continues down the road where he’s going to be, I think he has the upper hand at this point.”ON FILLING THE RUNNING BACK SPOTS:”We’d like to have three running backs is the bottom line. Joe Hill, Joey DeMartino, have got to be able to step up and do some things for us right away. We’ll try to recruit another running back or two. We may have one coming in at the break, but we’ll see how that goes. Kerwynn (Williams) is walking in, he’s the guy right now, everyone else will build around him.”ON MATT AUSTIN GETTING ANOTHER YEAR:”It’s not for sure yet. We need to look into that and see how it goes. I sure hope he gets another year. I think he deserves it. That’s one thing that we’ll see next year as we move forward. If we get him back we’ll have three very good wide receivers.”-USU-
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