This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
The first fall basketball practice went well for Utah State on Friday.
Even if the players were starting to gulp for air in the final 20 minutes of the nearly three-hour session.
Coach Stew Morrill seems to like what he sees out of his team, even though the Aggies have a lot of newcomers who are still working to fully comprehend the team's schemes. The thing the coaching staff truly hoped to see more of was physicality, and it seems this year's group is already showing more aggression.
"Some of our emphasis right now is we thought we were a soft, phyiscally soft team last year, and were just trying to get more physical," Morrill said. "More bodies on bodies, physical blockoffs, physical defensively and all those kinds of things. And we're bigger, so if we can do that, it will help us."
First practices tend to be teaching days, perhaps even moreso this year than years prior. The Aggies have all new point guards, so some of the practice was focused on bringing them along. From Morrill's comments, it sounded as if TeNale Roland got off to a good start at that position.
"He's small so he's gotta make up for it with effort and tenacity, but he's got a good feel, he's got more experience than our freshmen," Morrill said. "Our freshmen are good prospects, they're just freshmen."
The front court was also an area where the coaching staff was taking time to teach. The Aggies have big hopes for 6-foot-11 transfers Jarred Shaw and Matt Lopez, but the veterans had a slight leg up in the first session.
"[Jordan Stone has] got a little more experience. Matt and Jarred - what happens with our system is it's very complex, and their heads are spinning a lot," Morrill said. "It's a while before they can just play the game and the system comes just naturally to them."
But being a former big man himself, Morrill likes the potential of his taller recruits.
"We've got three big ol' guys, and that's good for me, it always has been," he said. "It's a comfort zone. You know what to do with that big guy right in the middle. You don't know what to do with the ball, throw it down low, and there's a good option."
Check out the above video for Preston Medlin's take on how the first practice went.
There will be more player interviews and practice notes in the coming days. Keep checking the Aggieville blog for more as basketball season gets going.
Kyle Goonkgoon@sltrib.comTwitter: @kylegoon