Thousands turn out for Saturday’s scrimmage

LOGAN – Senior defensive back Brian Suite said Saturday’s crowd at Romney Stadium was the biggest he has seen in his five years at Utah State for a fall scrimmage. An estimated 9,000 fans showed up to get a preview of the Aggie football team that starts play in two short weeks.

“The turnout is amazing,” Suite said. “It is good to see the support. We love to have the fans. It makes it more exciting. I mean, we’ve been hitting each other, staring at each other for the last two weeks so it’s really great to have a lot of other people out here.”

Coach Matt Wells said the crowd was the first thing he noticed when he entered the stadium.

“That was tremendous support by our fans, especially the ones here in Cache Valley,” he said.

For the most part, both the large crowd and Wells seemed pleased with the performance by the Aggies, but there were also some concerns. There were more than a few problematic snaps that either got away from the quarterback, or made him stretch for the ball.

“We had some center snaps get away from us,” Wells said. “We’ll get that cleaned up.”

Bad snaps aside, Wells said he was mostly pleased with what he saw, including solid play from the No. 1 defense and No. 1 offense, a “sharp” performance by quarterback Chuckie Keeton and confident play from senior running back Joe Hill, who recently returned to the field from an injury. Suite also noticed Hill’s improvement.

“I haven’t seen Joe Hill run that fast in a long time so it’s good to see him back,” he said.

JoJo Natson was another Aggie who performed well during the scrimmage. The junior wide receiver had five receptions and one touchdown. Wells said Natson has shown improvement catching the ball over the last few weeks.

“JoJo (Natson) is playing at a high level,” he said. “I think JoJo is an elite punt returner in the Mountain West. We want him to become an elite wide out and to do that he’s going to have to continue to play fast and learn how to stick his foot in the ground and get vertical.”

Saturday’s scrimmage marked the end of the second week of practice. Wells already has week three planned out. He said during this upcoming week training camp will end and preparations for the season opener at Tennessee will be begin.

“The other thing we’ll really focus on is the roles,” he said. “Who is the fourth and fifth running back? Who is the fourth, fifth and sixth receivers, the nickel and dime guys and then start carving what we do, our identity on both sides of the ball.”

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