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Utah State mailbag — Darell Garretson redshirt year and Aggies' run defense

Published November 12, 2013 4:20 pm
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It's a special Tuesday afternoon version of the mailbag, which really means there's just a bit of a time crunch. I'm going to try to be a little bit briefer than usual with a bye week ahead and basketball to think about tonight - apologies, we'll do the full-fledged thing next week.

Let's not miss a beat:

Assuming Chuckie is 100% ready to go by the start of next season, will the plan be to redshirt Darrell Garrettson and go with Harrison as the primary backup(with the obvious takeaway that if Chuckie suffers another injury the redshirt will be yanked again)? - Greg, West Jordan

I addressed this question in our most recent TribTalk, another great forum to ask me your Aggie questions. To me, this makes no sense.

You've established that Darell Garretson is the best back-up to Chuckie Keeton. He's actually a very capable starting quarterback, and could be better with more experience and reps. Making him sit out a year is not the best way to do that. Everyone at this point knows he's the No. 2 guy when Chuckie's back, so he deserves to be the No. 2 guy on the depth chart.

Another thought that you kind of tackled yourself: Chuckie has now missed the back half of two seasons. Given his history and injuries in general in college football, would you gamble that he's going to be 100 percent healthy for the whole year next season? The odds these days just seem to be against that, which isn't a knock on Chuckie but merely being realistic - looking around the Mountain West, how many of those QBs have been healthy the whole year?

What happened to the run D against UNLV? What do the Ags do to prevent getting steamrolled by Kapri Bibbs in the next game? - @USUGeoAgs

Yes, Tim Cornett had a good game, becoming only the second running back to go over the century mark this year against Utah State. The other was Boise State's Jay Ajayi.

One obvious observation is that both of those runningbacks were really, really good. I daresay they'll both get a chance to play in the NFL. Cornett is UNLV's all-time leading rusher for a reason. If you look back on some of his runs, he has great burst through pretty narrow openings, and his cutback ability is ridiculous. There was one down where three Aggies were right on him near the line of scrimmage, but he cut to his left and they all were in the dust as he made the first down.

Utah State will struggle at times against some of these tremendous athletes, especially when they have to adjust laterally. Not everyone can make cuts like that. The defense had a good game against Kasey Carrier, but Cornett also got some better blocking, and was a little more slippery.

Looking at some film of Bibbs from his 321-yard game last weekend, I'd say two factors are at work there. He's got tremendous speed, and when he makes one guy miss, he can be gone. The other thing is Nevada has the worst-ranked run defense in the conference, allowing 265 yards per game.

Schematically, Utah State has been sound. Even scheme-wise against Cornett, the Aggies had a pretty decent day. Sometimes speed and athleticism will bite them, but I think looking at Cornett, it comes down to a few broken tackles and a few really good cuts. If they can prevent Bibbs from doing the same, they should be able to keep him under 100. It should be interesting to see what formations they'll use, especially since they won't face a receiving threat on par with Devante Davis or Marcus Sullican next week — which is something I think also factored into having a looser run D.

Wells is aware of the pressure needed to stop the run: "We're going to have to play really good against the run. That's our number one goal every single week, to stop and eliminate the run."

Sorry guys, that's all I have time for this week. I will take more questions next week. There are some intriguing ones left over, including someone asking me who would win in a hoops game between the Aggies and the Utes. Might have to bring in a special guest to talk about that for next week.

— Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon






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