Utah State football held media day Thursday

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Aug. 2 2012 7:27 p.m. MDT

Prior to beginning fall camp on Friday, Aug. 3, Utah State football players and coaches met with the media as the Aggies held their annual media day Thursday. USU, who is picked to finish second in the Western Athletic Conference this season, returns 19 starters (8-offense; 6-defense; 5-special teams) and 45 lettermen (19-offense; 20-defense; 6-special teams) from last year's team that finished with a 7-6 record and tied for second place in the WAC with a 5-2 mark as it participated in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (L, 23-24 vs. Ohio), its first bowl game since 1997.

For the first time since 1996, the Aggies will open a season with back-to-back home games, hosting a pair of in-state foes in Southern Utah on Thursday, Aug. 30 and Utah on Friday, Sept. 7. Both games are slated for 6 p.m. (MT). The Aggies' game against Utah will be on ESPN2.

Season tickets and two-game packages can be purchased in person at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum weekdays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Fans can also buy tickets over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1, or online at www.utahstateaggies.com/tickets.

Fans can follow the Aggie football program at twitter.com/USUFootball or on the USU football blog at usufootball.wordpress.com. Aggie fans can also follow the Utah State athletic program at twitter.com/USUAthletics or on facebook at Utah State University Athletics.

Utah State Football Media Day Quotes From Head Coach Gary Andersen:

Opening statement:

“It's great to be back. The kids are rolling in and we're getting organized a bit, but they're excited. It's been a positive summer. We'll see how they look and find out a lot more about that as we move through today and tomorrow. It's an exciting time of year. You go through summer, the kids go through a hard off-season and summer school and it becomes a time when it's time to get ready to play football.”

“The expectations for camp is to make it difficult physically and mentally for the young men, but yet keep them fresh mentally and physically. It's a delicate balance, but I think we're ready for that as a team. Summer conditioning was designed to be really aggressive so we want to continue that through camp, but we also want to stay healthy. Secondly, camp is designed to give the players that have not been in the program and haven't played an opportunity to show us that they can or they can't and that they're ready or they're not ready. That's a major part of these first two weeks. We'll get the best 70 players and get ready to have them on an airplane. The first two games are here, and we plan to have about 100 guys there for those.”

Who isn't here that we expected to see?

"When we signed Bill Vavau he was very much like Paul Piukala in that they both had a lot of work to do academically. Bill still has the opportunity to get here, but he'll be late. He's very close, but if he can't get that done he'll join us in January. He has a redshirt [year], we knew that when we recruited him, just like we did with Paul when we recruited him a couple years ago. So Bill won't be here to begin camp.”

“B.J. Larsen will be back in another three or four days, but he's been sick and isn't quite ready to walk back into camp. Eric Berntson is going to need surgery. I don't know exactly what the injury is, but it is going to require some time so he won't be in camp at all. We do expect him to be back at some point during the season. He'll redshirt and get as big and strong as he can to get ready for spring ball and be a scout team guy. Bryce Walker has a broken leg and will be out for about another month. It's been fixed but just getting back where he needs to be. He'll be around camp, just not participating.”

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