USU football: Clune remains on Utah State football coaching staff

By Doug Hoffman

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Jan. 2 2013 7:00 p.m. MST

Kevin Clune will remain on the Utah State football coaching staff, it was announced Wednesday by newly appointed Aggie head coach Matt Wells. Clune has spent the past four seasons with USU serving as linebackers coach.

“Kevin is a man of high-character and has the passion and energy to make Utah State the best it can be, and we are excited to have him remain a part of our football family,” Wells said. “The linebackers have demonstrated a very consistent level of play over the last four years, which says a lot about Kevin, and I have been impressed by their production on and off the field during my time at Utah State.”

Clune helped Utah State to its most successful season in school history in 2012 as it went 11-2 and set school records for wins (11) and home wins (6), while being nationally ranked in the Associated Press poll for three-straight weeks for the first time in school history. USU also won its first outright conference championship since 1936 and just its third in school history.

Utah State also finished the 2012 season winning its final seven games, which is tied for the fourth-longest active winning streak in the nation and tied for the third-longest winning streak in school history.

“I’m very happy to be able to continue to work with the players in the program and build on the successes we have had,” Clune said. “I’m looking forward to the opportunity to keep building the program, and with the move into a new conference, I think this is going to be an exceptional place to be.”

During the 2012 season, Clune helped Utah State’s defense rank among the top 15 in the nation in five different statistical categories, including being ranked first in the Western Athletic Conference and seventh in the nation in scoring defense (15.38 ppg). USU also ranked second in the WAC and tied for sixth nationally in sacks (3.23 pg), first in the WAC and 10th in the nation in pass efficiency defense (104.43), second in the WAC and 13th in the country in rushing defense (113.77 ypg), first in the WAC and 15th in the nation in total defense (322.08 ypg), and first in the WAC and 32nd in the nation in passing defense (208.31 ypg).

Utah State’s defense also led the WAC and ranked second in the nation in red zone efficiency at 63.6 percent allowing just 13 touchdowns and 15 field goals on 44 trips inside the 20.

Utah State’s defense also ranked eighth in the nation forcing 5.08 three-and-outs per game in 2012, while ranking 21st nationally in third down efficiency at 32.88 percent (73-222).

During the 2012 season, Clune coached two inside linebackers who earned all-WAC honors in junior Jake Doughty and sophomore Zach Vigil.

In 2011, Clune coached first-team all-WAC linebacker Bobby Wagner, who led the league and ranked eighth in the nation in tackles with 11.3 per game, ranking tied for third in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) in total tackles with 147. Wagner earned first-team all-WAC accolades for the third-straight season becoming just the eighth player in school history to be named first-team all-conference three times.

Wagner also led the Utah State defensive unit with 11.5 tackles for loss, adding four sacks and two interceptions. Wagner was also named the North’s Most Outstanding Player in the 2012 Senior Bowl, snaring an interception to go along with seven tackles, tying for game-high honors.

Wagner, who ended his career with 446 career tackles to rank first all-time in the WAC and tied for first all-time in school history, was drafted in the second round (47) by the Seattle Seahawks and becomes the highest drafted Aggie since Rulon Jones was the 42nd overall pick in the second round in 1980 by the Denver Broncos.

Clune also mentored Kyle Gallagher, who ranked tied for 12th in the WAC during the 2011 season in tackles per game (7.69). Gallagher finished his Aggie career with 291 total tackles, ranking just outside of USU’s career top 10 lists.

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