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Utah State football: Aggies' offense has solid showing in scrimmage

Published August 13, 2014 10:41 am

Quarterback Keeton excels against patchwork defense during scrimmage.
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Logan • The good and bad of Tuesday's scrimmage for the Utah State Aggies was the play of quarterback Chuckie Keeton.

Keeton picked apart the defense for one big play after another to make Utah State's highly rated defense look average. That was the bad news. The good news? The Aggies might not face another quarterback with the talent of Keeton this season.

Keeton looked like he is on top of his game, hooking up with JC transfer Hunter Sharp, Braelon Roberts and others in the scrimmage.

"It was much better than our first day in pads for sure," Keeton said. "I'm looking forward to more improving for us to be successful."

While Keeton and Co. provided many of the highlights, he wasn't the only player to stand out as backup quarterback Darell Garretson and running back Joe Hill also had big plays.

Utah State coach Matt Wells was happy with the effort, noting that both Hill and Keeton looked good, along with receiver JoJo Natson, who is a lot more decisive this year.

"He isn't doing as much dancing around," Wells said.

Wells wasn't concerned the defense didn't dominate, particularly because a few key contributors — defensive end B.J. Larsen and linebackers Nick Vigil and Alex Huerta — sat out the scrimmage as a precaution.

"That wasn't like our defense but it's nothing to be concerned about," he said.

LT Filiaga, the transfer from Utah, made his presence known, as did Travis Seefeldt, who broke through the line and stuffed Hill on a 5-yard loss, one of the few times Hill was stopped Tuesday.

"It felt good to get back into the rhythm and stuff," Hill said. "I feel like I can pick up where I left off last year."

Wells said Filiaga has earned playing time and has fit in with the team on the field and off it.

"He is going to help us," he said.

Of note

Damion Hobbs, who is redshirting this season after transferring from Oregon, got some time at quarterback, as did freshman Kent Myers, who made several nice throws.

Singled out

While the return of Keeton and a solid defense are often mentioned as keys to the Aggies' success, Wells said it was important to not overlook the return of special teams players such as punter Jaron Bentrude and kickers Nick Diaz and Jake Thompson.

Diaz finished the 2013 season ranked second in conference play with a .981 extra point percentage and was 17 of 23 on field goals. Bentrude averaged 38.9 yards per punt and had 31 of his 73 punts downed inside the 20-yard line. Of those, 12 were downed inside the 10-yard line.

"I know that punt and kick returns have more to do with offense but that punting and kicking has so much to do with our defensive success over the last two years," Wells said. "To have those weapons back bigger and stronger is a positive."

Thompson made a 53-yarder in Tuesday's scrimmage.

Family Fun Day

The Aggies are hosting their ninth annual Family Fun Day on Saturday at Merlin Olsen Field before the 6 p.m. scrimmage.

Parking is free and fans are asked to enter Romney Stadium through the southwest entrance.

Fans will have a chance to meet players as well as members of the coaching staff. Season tickets and two-game packages will be available for purchase during the event through the ticket office. —

USU camp roundup

Who was hot • Chuckie Keeton and Darell Garretson both orchestrated nice drives as the offense looked strong early.

Who was notable • Freshman running back LaJuan Hunt continues to show he is a player to watch for in the future with several physical runs.

Up next • The Aggies practice Wednesday starting at 3:30 p.m.




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