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Utah State football: Ags close to having a coach

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A decision could come any day now in the search for Brent Guy's replacement at Utah State.

The usual suspects have either already been interviewed or will be before the weekend is over.

According to sources close to the program, Utah defensive coordinator Gary Andersen met with USU athletic director Scott Barnes on Wednesday. Former Utah State quarterback and current South Florida assistant coach Michael "Chico" Canales is taking advantage of USF's bye week and will meet with Barnes on Saturday before the Aggies' final football game.

Others already known to have interviewed — at least by phone and, in most cases, in face-to-face sessions — include former USU coach John L. Smith, former USU player Kent Baer (currently the San Jose State linebackers coach and a long-time defensive coordinator at Cal, Arizona State, Notre Dame, Stanford and Washington) and former USU assistant coaches DeWayne Walker (UCLA defensive coordinator) and Paul Rhodes (Auburn defensive coordinator).

Rumors have been flowing fast and furious on Internet sites about the search for the next Aggie head coach. According to some — and sources at USU are confirming some big-name boosters and Aggies such as Merlin Olsen, LaVell Edwards and Jim Laub — they have sent letters, made phone calls and tried to make their influence felt regarding various candidates.

What is also known is that Utah State is not the only coaching position many of the candidates are looking at.

Smith's name has been associated with the vacant Wyoming position as well, and Walker is being talked about as possibly the next head coach at San Diego State, New Mexico and Washington.

Baer and Canales are, perhaps, the only candidates who want to be the next Utah State head coach, rather than simply being a head coach. And that factor is turning them into favorites among many Aggie fans for the potential of staying at USU for more than a few years if they are successful.

Barnes, however, has said that while he wants to move quickly, he will not move hastily. So while a decision could come as early as this weekend, Barnes wants to make the right choice.

E-mail: jeborn@desnews.com