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Injuries at cornerback an ongoing issue for Utah State

The Aggies were without starting corner Cameron Haney for the entire Wake Forest game and lost two more contributors in the loss.

Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt, right, is tackled by Utah State cornerback Cam Lampkin during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Wake Forest won 38-35. 
Nell Redmond, AP

LOGAN — The Aggies are hurting at cornerback.

Coming off Friday’s 38-35 defeat at Wake Forest, Utah State is down three of its top corners due to injury.

Chief among them is expected starter Cameron Haney, who didn’t make an appearance against the Demon Deacons.

Zahodri Jackson and DJ Williams played, meanwhile, but both were banged up by the end.

As a result, sophomore Andre Grayson, junior graduate transfer Terin Adams — who has only been with the team for three weeks — redshirt freshman Michael Anyanwu and true freshman Cam Lampkin all saw time for the Aggies.

“That is a tough drill, for young men to come in and play,” Utah State head coach Gary Andersen said. “Guys who had been at corner for 2 1/2 weeks of practice were out there playing in their first college game that they’ve ever even traveled to, but there are no excuses in football and they had to step up and play.

Wake Forest running back Christian Beal-Smith, top left, flips over Utah State cornerback DJ Williams as Utah State safety Troy Lefeged Jr. looks on in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.
Nell Redmond, AP

“We will play better, and we need to play better in that spot. We will challenge ourselves as coaches and those young men will challenge themselves and we will all work to get better.”

As for updates on the injured — and whether they will be available against Stony Brook — Andersen had few set in stone answers.

“I don’t know that. That is up in the air,” he said. “We will have to see where that all lies, but we will know more in the next couple of days.

“Right now we will prepare with the healthy kids that we have, and away we will go.

On Haney specifically, Andersen did note “he wasn’t able to go and didn’t get any snaps, so hopefully we can get him back and get him out there this week.”

A HISTORIC OUTING: Running back Jaylen Warren made history over the weekend with the best debut (19 carries for 141 yards) by a running back in school history. He is the first Utah State running back to rush for over 100 yards in his first game.

Utah State running back Jaylen Warren scores a touchdown against Wake Forest during the second half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Wake Forest won 38-35.
Nell Redmond, AP

Despite the standout performance by Warren, don’t expect things to change as far as the Aggies’ approach to the tailback position. Warren, Gerold Bright and Riley Burt are each expected to play significant roles going forward.

Utah State back Gerold Bright carries the football against Wake Forest in the first half of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019.
Nell Redmond, AP

“We want three backs that can go out there, and, hopefully, we develop that as we go,” Andersen said. “Gerold Bright is going to take the first snap. He deserves that as he’s in that spot to be able to continually work through those reps. Those guys (Bright and Warren) are going to play a ton and their skill sets, as you can see, are both very good and different. I love that part for us as an offense and it’s great for those kids to play within their own skill set.”

PLAYMAKERS FOUND: Andersen made it clear prior to the Wake Forest game that the wide receiver corps was a major question mark, at least until after he saw his pass catchers play in a meaningful contest.

Suffice it say, a game in which Siaosi Mariner (eight catches for 118 yards and a touchdown), Jordan Nathan (six catches for 83 yards and a score) and players like tight end Caleb Repp (five catches for 59 yards) and Deven Thompkins (two catches for 59 yards and a score) all had breakout performances, playmakers are no longer a question.

Wake Forest defensive back Coby Davis (20) breaks up a pass intended for Utah State wide receiver Savon Scarver in the closing seconds of an NCAA college football game in Winston-Salem, N.C., Friday, Aug. 30, 2019. Wake Forest won 38-35.
Nell Redmond, AP

“Siaosi had a great game,” Andersen said. “DT (Thompkins) has pure speed, as you saw when he caught that ball. Savon (Scarver) had a couple of nice plays when he got the ball in his hands. It was good to see Caleb involved. We had a lot of guys catch balls and do some things, which was nice to see. … This is a gifted crew of skill players on offense. We have a gifted quarterback and that in turn, allows us to be very productive on the offensive side of the football. I expect that to continue to grow and develop.”