Handling Adversity Gives Utah State Chance To Get Better

Sep 13, 2023, 2:34 PM | Updated: 2:37 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State head coach Blake Anderson has been pleased with his team’s progress as they prepare to open conference play against Air Force on Friday night.

USU will open Mountain West play against the Air Force Falcons on Friday, September 15. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT).

The Aggies third-year coach joined the KSL Sports Zone to talk with Hans & Scotty G on Tuesday, September 12. “This can be a big test,” Anderson cautioned. “Short weeks make it more difficult on the road.”

RELATED: Aggies Confident As Utah State Looks Forward To Road Test Against Air Force

After bringing in 61 new players since last season, the sixth most turnover in the country, Utah State was left with many unknowns. Questions about athletic ability, the translation of physical skills at a higher level, and the ability to bounce back from adversity were everywhere.

Through two games, some of those questions have been answered.

“How quickly over a week would we see visible adjustments and growth,” Anderson wondered. “Who’s going to respond when things don’t go the right way? We can only force so much on them during the practice setting. Putting them in a game… I was really pleased with how a lot of guys progressed.”

“I think we’re trending in the right direction,” Anderson said. “Guys are willing to work and will take coaching. We’re getting better. I think we’re gonna be really competitive in our league.”

RELATED: Offensive Success Starts Up Front As Utah State Prepares For Air Force

Offensive Weapons At Utah State’s Disposal

The Aggies head to Colorado Springs with some eye-popping offensive numbers. Of course that can happen in small sample sizes after a team piles up ten touchdowns and 78 total points. Numbers aside, USU has benefited from junior college transfers perhaps overlooked because of the transfer portal. The wide receiver and running back rooms are testaments to the ability to identify talented and coachable players.

“We attack the JC ranks with value,” Anderson emphasized. “Find value and it doesn’t matter who is recruiting them. Do they make us better? You’re seeing a lot of those guys showing up now.”

RELATED: Running Back Depth Could Benefit Utah State

Behind starting running back Robert Briggs Jr. are former JUCO backs Davon Booth and Rahsul Faison.

Listed as the third running back after spending last season with Snow College, Faison leads the Aggies with 155 yards and a touchdown on just 12 carries. Booth, out of Cerritos College, has totaled 120 yards and two scores on the ground while Briggs Jr. has the only 100-yard game of the bunch to go with one touchdown.

“They all knew what they were coming here for. They knew that the room was gonna have talent… It shows real quickly that all three bring tremendous value to the field. They all have talent and do some really neat things that are gonna allow us, I hope, to be balanced and a threat on the ground.”

RELATED: Utah State Releases Week Three Depth Chart Versus Air Force Falcons

In the wide receiver room, JUCO transfer Terrell Vaughn leads the group with a best in the nation 11.5 receptions per game and three touchdowns. Another 2022 transfer in Jalen Royals caught his first touchdown as an Aggie against Idaho State.

Anderson raved about the wide receiver depth as seven different wideouts have caught a pass this season.

“We’re super excited about that room. I feel like we could throw any combination of four or five different guys out there… We went out and purposely brought guys in here for the roles that they’re playing. We haven’t even tapped into some of the younger talent.”

Anderson concluded, “We’ve got a lot of weapons, and good luck taking one away because we do not mind pushing it around to all of them.”

Aggie Depth Report

  • DT Hale Motu’apuaka and TE Broc Lane each returned against Idaho State
  • Both players were on limited snap counts. Anderson joked that they had to take both guys’ helmets and pads away to keep them off the field in the second half.
  • Anderson confirmed that sophomore linebacker Max Alford will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury suffered against Iowa
  • In the weekly press conference, Anderson said the kicker William Testa and running back Robert Briggs remain sore following the season’s second game.
  • “We’re in good shape if those guys (are) limited,” Anderson said on Wednesday. “If either of those guys was limited, we feel we’ve got other guys that can go.”

Following The Aggies With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State opens its Mountain West schedule against the Air Force Falcons on Friday, September 15. Kickoff for this game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT). USU defeated Air Force 34-27 last year at Maverik Stadium. The Falcons hold a 6-5 advantage in the all-time series.

Utah State football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Handling Adversity Gives Utah State Chance To Get Better