LOGAN — Utah State football practiced in shoulder pads and as an entire unit for the first time of fall camp on Saturday. The Aggies also practiced in the rain.
"I thought today was an OK day, overall not good enough, but we were battling the elements and first time as an entire group," head coach Gary Andersen said. "I thought on offense and defense, our technique got away from us a little bit with pads on."
The team will also wear jerseys, shoulder pads, shorts and helmets Monday before donning full pads Tuesday. The first two-a-day practice begins Wednesday.Saturday's practice was also the first time that the team was all together after practicing in split groups on Thursday and Friday, allowing the coaching staff to evaluate and instruct more.
"It was a positive today to be in one group. After two days we've changed a couple spots on the depth chart and did some different things. The kids reacted in a positive way, so that was a bright spot today. We went through field goal drills and defense completely dominated, even blocking a couple so that's not a real good sign," Andersen said. "We'll continue to improve. Watching film always makes things seem not as bad as you think right after practice, so we'll evaluate things and get better in Monday's practice."
USU's final scrimmage of the fall will be in association with Utah State Aggie Football Family Fun Day, sponsored by Macey's Foods, and will be Saturday, Aug. 22, at Romney Stadium. The event provides fans a chance to meet USU football players and coaches, participate in games and activities as well as purchase season tickets.
Activities sponsored by Macey's Foods will begin at noon on the South Concourse of Romney Stadium. USU's football scrimmage gets underway at 1 p.m.
Andersen and the Aggies return a WAC-leading 19 total starters, including a conference-best 10 on offense, as well as seven on defense and two kickers. Those 19 starters are part of 48 returning lettermen from last season's 3-9 team. Last year was the first time since 2005 that the Aggies had three wins in a season and USU's 3-5 WAC record was its best in its four seasons in the league. It was also the first time since 2003 that USU has won three conference games and just the third time in the 2000's (2000: 4-1 Big West; 2003: 3-4 Big West; 2008: 3-5 WAC).
The Aggies open the 2009 season against Utah on Thursday, Sept. 3. After a bye and a road game at Texas A&M on Saturday, Sept. 19, USU hosts in-state foe Southern Utah in the Aggies' home opener on Saturday, Sept. 26, at 6 p.m.