Being able to play alongside his brother for one final year was one of the biggest motivating factors for Zach in getting ready for the 2014 season, he said.
"I wanted to teach him everything I know," Zach said. "I may not know much, but I wanted to help him develop certain things like knowing how important those five minutes left in the third quarter are and the subtle things like that."
Apparently Zach has been an excellent teacher, for Nick is one of the rising stars in the Aggies' defense.
At 6-foot-2, 230 pounds, Nick has the size to be a game changer and has a good sense of the game. Last season he played in all 14 games and started four. He finished with 57 tackles and led the team with 5.5 sacks and ranked fifth overall with 8.5 tackles for loss.
His play is even more crucial for the Aggies now that Kyler Fackrell has joined Alex Huerta on the season-ending injury list.
Luckily, Utah State's coaches have confidence in him. Coach Matt Wells said Tuesday that Nick belonged on a field with SEC talent, while linebackers coach Joe Lorig believes Nick has just begun to tap into his abilities.
"He is a special player," Lorig said. "He is tall, but not your prototypical linebacker. He has a good instinct for the game and is a hard worker so he has a lot of potential to do some great things for us."
As a senior, Zach is the more proven commodity, ranking 28th all-time in school history with 233 career tackles. His 124 tackles in 2013 rank 19th all-time at USU for a single season.
Following in his brother's footsteps could be as much pressure as fun, but Nick said he didn't mind the situation, particularly since the two didn't play together in high school. Zach attended Clearfield H.S. while Nick starred for Fremont H.S.
"One of the reasons I came here was to play with him," Nick said. "I thought it would be cool and I knew I could learn from him."
Their brotherly chemistry has had a positive effect on the rest of the Aggies' defense, Lorig said.
"What is good about them is they are good players but they are even better people and their dynamic is great," he said. "It's rare that two brothers like that can play together at this level and it's going to be something they will remember for the rest of their lives."
The memories will of course be even better if the Aggies can have a successful season with their help.
"I've already gone through a lot of the stages he has gone through like gaining strength and weight," Zach said. "I've tried to teach him everything I know and hopefully we can have a big year. We're still developing as a defense, but I think we are sound."
About the Vigils
Vitals • 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, senior
From • Clearfield
Of note • Had 10 tackles against Tennessee. … Second-team All-Mountain West in 2013. … Entered season ranked 28th all-time in school history with 233 career tackles. … 124 tackles his junior season was the 19th best performance.
Vitals • 6-2, 230 pounds, sophomore
From • Plain City
Of note • Recorded a career high 15 tackles, including one sack and two tackles for loss, in the Aggies' opener at Tennessee. … Played in all 14 games, including four starts, as a redshirt freshman. … Led the team with 5.5 sacks.
Idaho State at Utah State
Saturday, 6 p.m.
TV/Web: Mountain West Network