USU football: Utah State offense looking to stay the course with new coordinator Matt Wells

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 14 2012 12:00 p.m. MDT

Utah State’s offense will be looking to stay the course and score points in 2012 under first-year coordinator Matt Wells, who is in his second season with the program after coaching the quarterbacks in his first year at his alma mater.

Wells was a three-year letterman for Utah State at quarterback from 1994-96 and earned his bachelor's degree in business marketing.

During the 2011 season, Utah State’s high-octane spread offense was statistically one of the best in the country as it led the Western Athletic Conference and ranked sixth in the nation in rushing yards per game (282.69). USU also ranked first in the WAC and 18th in the nation in passing efficiency (151.8), first in the WAC and 23rd in the nation in points per game (33.62), second in the WAC and 20th in the nation in total yards per game (457.31) and second in the WAC and 33rd in the nation in fewest sacks allowed per game (1.38).

Utah State also established school records for total offense (5,945 yards), rushing yards (3,675), total points (437) and total touchdowns (60) during the 2011 campaign.

With just over two weeks until Utah State kicks off the 2012 season at home against Southern Utah on Aug. 30, Wells spent a few minutes talking about the upcoming season and what Aggie fans can expect from the USU offense this fall.

What is it like for you, a former Aggie player, to be not only a coach at Utah State, but the team’s offensive coordinator?

“I think it's a blessing. It's an extreme honor to know that Coach (Gary) Andersen has trusted me with that. It's an honor anywhere, but it's extra special to be at your alma mater. There's an added incentive and added pressure, but no more pressure than I throw at myself. It's comforting to know, when you have great players and a great staff around you, that it's got a chance to be an exciting offense.”

Talk about your transition to offensive coordinator this year and how that has been for you.

“It's been smooth. Aided by being in this offense for two years now under both Coach (Dave) Baldwin and Coach Andersen, we've tweaked it and changed it a little bit, but the nuts and bolts of it are the same. It's something I've been around and been familiar with, so we're just trying to mold it and make it fit with the young men we have and their talent.”

Talk about your relationship with assistant coach Mike Sanford and how his background as both a head coach and offensive coordinator will help you.

“Coach Sanford has been great, better than I hoped for, and better than advertised when you talk to other coaches around the country. He's been extremely supportive, really insightful to techniques and schematic things that we're doing, just based on his background. He's been a tremendous support for me.”

What is your offensive philosophy going to be at Utah State?

“Score points.”

What can Aggie fans expect from a Matt Wells-coached offense?

“Hopefully that we're fun to watch; we're exciting, that we're explosive, that we take calculated risks. But more than anything that we give our players the chance to be successful and use their talents to the fullest. Hopefully, that will translate into a lot more wins.”

Will fans see a different Utah State offense this year, as opposed to previous years under coach Andersen where USU ran the ball the majority of the time, especially without Robert Turbin and Michael Smith?

“You'd see a different offense no matter who the coordinator is just because the personnel is changing. As our team changes and the people change, hopefully we're smart enough as coaches to put them in positions where they can be successful. It will be a little bit of a change, but most of that is personnel change.”

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