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Utah State wraps up first week of spring football practices

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I was like, if I’m going to make this move, I might as well make it during the spring and not the summer, so I can learn it now. – Kent Myers, on moving from quarterback to wide receiver

LOGAN — Like a lot of young college kids, Kent Myers is just trying to fit in.

But heading into his sophomore year at Utah State, the Texas native now finds himself trying to be accepted by a whole new group of guys. Fortunately, when it comes to quarterbacks and wide receivers, there's usually mutual appreciation.

"I was good friends with most of the receivers last season," said Myers, who is making the switch from quarterback to wideout during USU's spring practices. "I feel like they've welcomed me in. They say they have my back and everything, so that's cool."

What about his old position mates at quarterback?

"I'm still their best friend," Myers said with a smile after Saturday morning's practice at Romney Stadium. "Hopefully they'll throw me the ball a lot."

With senior Chuckie Keeton and junior Darell Garretson now back from injuries suffered during the 2014 season, the Aggies are in the rare situation of having three players on their roster who have started at quarterback in bowl game victories. Myers was at the helm the second half of last season, and ended up as the offensive MVP of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

But with so many experienced quarterbacks in the mix heading into the 2015 season, he said he wanted to "do what's best for the team." Myers, who hasn't played receiver since his sophomore year in high school, said the switch was all his idea.

"I've been thinking about this for a while, and I was like, if I'm going to make this move, I might as well make it during the spring and not the summer, so I can learn it now," Myers said. "I feel very comfortable out there because I like to run, but it's different than playing quarterback because now I'm running everywhere. So, I'll need to get my conditioning up this summer."

The move to wideout may be temporary for Myers, who is also slated to get some time returning kickoffs this spring. If it's not working out, he'll likely move back to quarterback and redshirt this season like he was slated to do in 2014 before injuries to Keeton, Garretson and Craig Harrison thrust him into the starting role.

"He's just OK right now," USU head coach Matt Wells said of Myers' performance at receiver. "It's a whole other ballgame to Division I from high school playing wideout. But he'll be OK."

Saturday's practice was the fourth and final one of USU's first week of spring football. The weather was warm and sunny all week in Cache Valley, allowing the Aggies to practice outside rather than in the cramped confines of the Stan Laub Indoor Training Center like they've done most springs.

"The first week has been good,” Wells said. “You're kind of starting to form your team a little bit. It's been great weather, so it's been great to be outside. It's a process. We're not even close to being where we want to be yet, but there's been a few bright spots here and there, but a lot of work to be done on both sides."

Wells said one of those "bright spots" has been the offensive line, which lost first-team, All-Mountain West tackle Kevin Whimpey to graduation, but still returns four starters and six letterwinners from last season.

"The offensive line has done a nice job of picking up some of the new stuff that we're doing and that first group has looked decent for three or four days," Wells noted.

Individually, Wells singled out the early spring performances of senior wide receiver/punt returner JoJo Natson and junior free safety Devin Centers.

“JoJo, the way he is, you can see his confidence level in how he plays," Wells said. "Defensively, the first guy that stands out to me is Devin Centers because of his knowledge. It's obviously not as big of a change over on defense. There's a lot of continuity with Kevin Clune coming in.”

A former linebackers coach at USU, Clune returned to Logan this winter after spending one year as the defensive coordinator at Hawaii. He replaced Todd Orlando, who left Utah State for Houston after two years as the Aggies' defensive coordinator.

"Things are just a little bit different, but we're all adapting to what he's doing, so it's going to be good," said sophomore cornerback Jalen Davis, who is back in action after missing the final two games of the 2014 season with a turf toe injury.

"It feels really good to be back out here with the team and being able to contribute to what's going on."

Utah State's spring football schedule will continue this week with morning practices on Tuesday and Thursday and a scrimmage at 3:15 p.m. Friday. The annual Blue vs. White Spring Game is slated for 2 p.m. Saturday, April 11, at Romney Stadium's Merlin Olsen Field.