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Utah State football: Aggies get defensive in first full scrimmage

By Kraig Williams

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 16 2011 2:54 p.m. MDT

LOGAN — While all the players at Utah State University's training camp are still working out the kinks, it appears that USU head football coach Gary Andersen's defense has the upper hand after the first week.

During the first scrimmage of camp Tuesday morning, the Aggies' defense dominated the proceedings.

Junior college transfer Bojay Filimoeatu stole the show, collecting three sacks and six total tackles.

"I think our defense stepped up to where Coach 'A' wanted us to step up to," Filmoeatu said. "Our first team was pretty good and our second team was right there. We just need to work on a few things. As a team, I think we are coming together and as a family we are competing on both sides."

During the two-hour scrimmage, it was rare to see a ball-carrier go down with only one hit, as the defense swarmed to the ball on every play. Aside from a 99-yard run by Robert Turbin, where the powerful back broke through a pile and raced down the field, there were very few negatives for the defense.

"Tremendous play by Turbin and horrible tackling by the number two defense at that point," Andersen said. "The number one defense was fairly solid overall. We had some communication scenarios, but you'd expect that after eight or nine practices. We flew to the ball well. This tape will be very important to us to see where we sit."

Andersen's only other complaint about the defense was the lack of turnovers created.

"In my opinion a great defense gets a turnover every 30 snaps. We have a long ways to go with that," Andersen said.

QB BATTLE: The former three-man battle for the starting quarterback job between Adam Kennedy, Alex Hart and Chuckie Keeton is down to just Keeton and Kennedy. Hart is recovering after having his tonsils removed and has lost 20 pounds, according to Andersen, and is not healthy enough to be in contention at this time.

Keeton and Kennedy both looked solid during the opening scrimmage. Keeton made his case to move to the top of the depth chart by making plays with his arm, going 9-for-16 for 85 yards, and also with his feet, with 10 rushes for 36 yards and a touchdown on a nifty play-action scamper.

Still, Keeton sees room for improvement.

"I believe I could have played better," Keeton said following the scrimmage. "I know we still made some big plays. On our second drive we went 60 yards for a touchdown and that was a big positive. Just have to take it one day at a time, look at this film and assess our mistakes."

Andersen has set a timetable to have a starter announced by Saturday morning's scrimmage.

FOR KICKS: After struggling with the kicking game for most of spring ball and into training camp, the Aggies are down to two players left to fight it out for the starting placekicker job. Both Jacob Haueter and Josh Thompson looked shaky early in practice but found the range as the morning went on.

Haueter finished 12-for-15 on the day, while Thompson went 10-for-15.

"Both of those young men kicked the ball decently," said Andersen. "We finished well over 80 percent on our makes and we took them back to 47 yards. There are some positives there."

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