This fall, Keegan Andersen has his goals aligned.
He's been working on his blocking technique, cleaning up his protection and run support. He's sharpening his routes as he fights for a contributing role in the Aggies offense.
His father, Gary Andersen, may be in another state watching over another program, but Keegan's attention is firmly rooted on his business in Logan.
"In spring, it was different not having him around," he said. "But it's all the same family here. We've got good coaches here."
Keegan is planted behind D.J. Tialavea on the two-deep chart at tight end. He's made his share of big catches in practice this summer as Utah State looks to build on last year's 11-2 season.
Gary Andersen still hears about his highlights and lowlights, only now it's over the phone when Keegan calls him every day.
"I talk to them every day, and my dad wants to know how everybody's doing," Keegan said. "He still cares about the players here. He still wants Utah State to do well."
But as Keegan's parents have moved away, he said it's made him appreciate the family he still has nearby. That includes one of his younger brothers and roommates, Hagen Andersen, but it also means the people in the program, players and coaches, are maybe even more important to him than before.
"I have my teammates to help me get through it," he said. "These guys will always be part of my family."
Cornerback competition intense
Want to know who starts at corner across from Nevin Lawson? Cornerbacks coach Kendrick Shaver isn't ready to say yet.
"That is a tough question," he said. "I wouldn't have an answer yet. That thing is still up for grabs."
There's a long list of competitors for that starting job: Tay Glover-Wright, Rashard Stewart, Quinton Byrd and newcomer Jeremy Morris. Sorting through those candidates has been a good problem for the Aggies so far this fall.
Shaver felt he had good depth entering camp, and so far feels like his players have proved him right. There have been a few unexpected contenders, he added.
"To be honest, Byrd coming off an ACL injury has really surprised me," he said. "I didn't expect him to take this many reps and not be sore. It's crazy how good he's been."
In the end, Shaver said, most of the players in that group will see snaps. The team may swap many of them in similar substitution packages as last year, when Terrence Alston and Jumanne Robertson spelled Lawson and Will Davis.
He added that he thought Davis' solid start in the NFL he intercepted a pass in a preseason game last week may be lighting fires under some of Utah State's corners this year.
"It definitely gives them something to look forward to, even Nevin Lawson who's trying to make it to the NFL next year," he said. "They're watching this guy who was sitting next to them last year in meetings. He was one of them."