Utah State football: Aggies focus on national champs after tough camp

Published: Thursday, Sept. 1 2011 10:47 p.m. MDT

LOGAN — Head coach Gary Andersen and the Utah State football team turn their attention away from training camp and to Auburn this week. While the Tigers remain the focus for the team, the Aggies believe they have put themselves in a great position with a successful camp.

"It was a quality camp; it was a long camp, really, three full weeks of camp," Andersen said.

Improvements are noticeable across the board after three weeks of practice, but Andersen believes the biggest jump has come from his defensive unit.

"I would like to say in the front seven, but that is against ourselves. So, we will see. We will see how physical we can be, we will see how tough we are."

Linebacker Bobby Wagner agreed with his coach's sentiments and believes this is the best defensive line he has played with.

"They are excited to play the game, they want to be on the other side of the ball just like I do. They come with this passion that I don't think the defensive linemen had as much of in previous years. I am excited to play with them."

For the most part the Aggies emerged from camp healthy. One noticeable loss is cornerback Cameron Sanders who injured his elbow during camp and will miss the first few weeks of the season.

"I wish Cameron Sanders was with us," Andersen said about his secondary. "Cam has the elbow injury and he won't be with us and that is a big blow."

While nobody on the defense is happy about Sanders loss, Wagner feels confident in the other defensive backs behind him, specifically junior college Jumanne Robertson and sophomore Nevin Lawson. Robertson will start in Sanders place on opening day and will team up with Lawson to form a formidable cornerback duo.

"Nevin has stepped up big time," Wagner said. "The way he carries himself, his focus is incredible. I told him the other day at practice that I appreciate the way he covers the receivers, because I rarely see people catch balls with him this camp."

With the rest of the depth chart set, all eyes will be on quarterback when the Aggies take their first offensive snap to see whether Adam Kennedy or Chuckie Keeton will be the team's starting signal caller. The hope for the Aggies is to gain an advantage on Auburn's defense by forcing them to prepare for two very different quarterbacks. No matter who wins the job running back Robert Turbin feels confident in their ability and expects them to step in and help the team win.

"One of them has to show that 'hey, I am going to be the guy that is going to manage these games,' and help us win more than the other guy. Whichever one quarterback has that mindset and does that remains to be seen but that is what I expect out of those two."

Fans in the Salt Lake valley that want to follow the Aggies on radio will have to change their presets this season. KZNS 1280 AM and 97.5 FM have will carry all Utah State football games this season including the one-hour pregame and postgame shows as well as the weekly coaches show. Outside the Wasatch Front games are available on KVNU 610 AM in Cache Valley, KZNU 1450

in St. George, KVEL 920 AM in Vernal, KRPX 95.3 FM in Price and KCPX 1490 AM in Moab.

Aggies on the air

USU (0-0) at Auburn (0-0)

Saturday, 10 a.m. MT

TV: ESPN2

Radio: 1280 AM, 97.5 FM

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