Utah State football: Aggies look to be dynamic on offense — regardless of the quarterback
Ravell Call, Deseret News
LOGAN — Utah State head coach Gary Andersen will not be announcing a starting quarterback until that player gets under center in the Aggies' first game against Auburn.
Whether it be junior college transfer Adam Kennedy or true freshman Chuckie Keeton, they will be afforded a luxury no other Aggie quarterback has for several years with a deep and dynamic group of skill position players.
The fully healthy Robert Turbin highlights the running back lineup. Turbin has been named to the Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch List, an award given to the nation's top running back every season. No Aggie player has been given that honor since Emmett White in 2001. Sporting News, Athlon, Phil Steele and virtually every other preseason magazine has Turbin named to the Preseason All-WAC team, a pretty impressive feat for a guy who has not played in competition in nearly two years.
"He's a great running back and he's fun to block for because he makes big plays," said Aggie center Tyler Larsen. "It's great to watch him and block for him."
It is more than just the Turbin show in the backfield, though. The Aggies have Michael Smith back from injury as well. Smith was the primary back to start last season and averaged more than 6 yards a carry in three games before being lost for the season with a turf-toe injury. Smith has looked healthy in practice and scrimmages and will give Utah State depth at tailback they did not have last season.
The most dynamic player in Andersen's offense is perhaps Kerwynn Williams. Last season, Williams set the NCAA record for single-season return yards with 1,444, finished as the team's second-leading rusher with 451 yards gained on the ground and caught 12 passes and lined up in the slot receiver position late in the year.
"We can change our personnel groupings and we can go regular personnel, but with Kerwynn it is like playing to three wideouts or two backs or whatever you want and he can move outside and he can play inside," Andersen said.
Depth is also prevalent at the wide receiver position. The Aggies will bring back Matt Austin, who has shown great promise in past years, but missed all of 2009 with a foot injury and caught just a single pass in 2010 before suffering a knee injury that ended his season.
Stanley Morrison, who is also returning to the team after missing 2010 with a foot injury, senior leader Eric Moats and deep threat Chuck Jacobs, who joined the Aggies right before camp opened, joins Austin.
All this depth minimizes the importance of the starting quarterback in Andersen's opinion.
"I don't feel the pressure with our quarterback position," the Aggies' head coach said. "We need to let our backs and wideouts take the game over and let the quarterback just manage the offense."
Kerwynn Williams, running back, is not hard to spot off the field. The junior running back has been sporting a high-top fade haircut, died bright orange that you can see a mile away during training camp. On the field, it will not be as easy for defenses to find him, as Williams will line up at a number of positions including running back and slot receiver. The Aggies will utilize his versatility to create mismatches against defenses, take pressure off the young quarterbacks with short passes and provide a change of pace back to the dangerous Robert Turbin.
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