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'Aggie walk,' other traditions about to start

New coach has some ideas to implement for home opener

LOGAN — Not only will Utah State fans get their first home look at the Aggies this year on Saturday when they host UNLV, but they will also see the new traditions first-year coach Brent Guy is implementing.

The first major tradition is the "Aggie Walk" from the Champ Room in the Smith Spectrum, where they will have their pregame meal to Romney Stadium.

During the five-minute walk, the team will pass by and touch the "Meet the Challenge" Bull located at 10th North and 8th East en route to the stadium.

"I've been involved with these types of walks before, and I think they're neat when the fans can interact with the kids right before the game and kind of energize them, if you will," Guy said.

"Our kids can focus and think about the game other than riding a bus and jumping off and going into the locker room."

Game time is set for 6:05 p.m., so the team will begin the walk at about 3:55 p.m. so it can arrive at the stadium two hours before game-time.

"We hope the fans will be there, and it will turn into something bigger. "It's not going to be something where we stop, visit, chat and sign autographs, but we'll react to the fans," Guy said.

"I want them (the players) to be focused that this is it and that we're walking down to defend our ground in Romney Stadium."

The Aggies (0-1), who lost to Utah 31-7 in their season opener two weeks ago, have won two straight home openers — Idaho in 2004 and Louisiana-Monroe in 2003.

Secondly, the Aggies will sing the school fight song with the fans and the band immediately following the game, win or lose.

SEPTEMBER GAMES: The Aggies will play only two games in the month of September for the first time since 1966. A cancelation of a game due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina and a bye week occurred earlier in the month.

Utah State has won three of its last four September home games, with the only loss coming last year to No. 15 Utah 48-7 last season.

MEMORABLE DATE: The last time the Aggies played a home game on Sept. 24, they beat UNLV 23-21 in 1994.

AGGIES ON THE AIR: The game will be broadcast on KJZZ-TV and KLAS in Las Vegas as well as being part of ESPN Game Plan.

It will also be broadcast live on 610 AM (Logan) 98.3 FM (Salt Lake).

TEAM CAPTAINS: OL Donald Penn, WR Blake Garrett, S Terrance Washington and LB Matt Wiser will be the captains for this week's contest.

Wiser was also a captain in the Aggies' season opener at Utah.

WIN NO. 100: A win over UNLV would be the Aggies; 100th at Romney Stadium. The first was a 28-12 victory over New Mexico State in 1968. The 50th came 18 years later with a 42-9 victory also over New Mexico State.

New Mexico State was the Aggies' 99th win in the stadium in the final game of the season last year.

SANFORD & SON: Guy has never coached against UNLV head coach Mike Sanford, but he has been in his living room.

"We recruited his son to Boise State, so I met Mike then, but that was the last time I saw he and his wife and daughter," Guy said.

Sanford's son, Mike, who is a graduate assistant at UNLV, played scout-team quarterback for one season while Guy was an assistant there.

UTAH TIES: Sanford was an assistant coach under Urban Meyer at Utah last year. When hired by UNLV, Sanford hired Utah assists Keith Uperesa, formerly the head coach at Snow College, and Kurt Barber.

Also, Pine View High standout Jesse Knight, who also played at Dixie State, is on the Rebels' roster along with Taylorsville's Isaiah Tafua.

WALK-ONS: Guy was expecting 12 to 18 new students Monday to try out for the team. He also had a tryout in the spring, and RB Dustin Zieman made the team.

"We anticipate two or three guys will stick," Guy said.

CAMP WILLIAMS: Twelve players, along with Guy and 12 other students from campus visited the Hurricane Katrina refugees at Camp Williams Monday.

They played softball, ate dinner, held a football clinic and watched part of the New Orleans Saints' game with the New York Giants.

"We had 12 spots, and I probably had 30 kids ask to do it," Guy said.

"It's their day off and that's what makes you feel good as a coach; they're willing to take their day off and turn it into a community service project."


E-mail: jhinton@desnews.com