USU football: Dave Ungerer wants USU’s special teams to be aggressive

By Megan Allen

For the Deseret News

Published: Tuesday, April 16 2013 2:10 p.m. MDT

While all areas of a football team are critical, a lot of the basics come down to special teams. When Utah State head coach Matt Wells was putting his staff together, he kept that in mind.

Dave Ungerer joins the Utah State football program with 26 years of coaching experience and has been a part of five bowl games. During his career, he has coached at such BCS schools as Alabama, California, Oregon State and most recently Washington State.

As the special teams coordinator and running backs coach at Utah State, Ungerer has jumped in wholeheartedly. With spring practice in its final week, he is working to bring his own flair to the program and carry over the success he has seen in the past.

Talk about your first few months on the job:

“It’s been great. These first few months have been awesome. I hit the ground running and didn’t have a lot of lead-up time going into this. Coach (Matt) Wells has been awesome to work with, along with the rest of the staff. They’ve been really accommodating, trying to help me get up to speed as fast as possible. The players have been great, knowing that I came in with just a couple of days to prepare. It’s really been a positive experience. All the support people at the university and the athletic department, as well as the structure of the football program and how its run, has been really neat to see.”

You have worked at several BCS schools during your career. Can you talk about Utah State's coaching staff and how they compare to others you have been around?

“The staffs are very, very similar. There are a lot of really good coaches here who are very diligent to their craft and profession. The tempo that we practice at, the amount of coaching we do both on and off the field is very impressive to watch. The staff just works together. I don’t see any difference here than when I was at Alabama or Cal or any of those other places. This is just as good of a staff as I’ve ever been a part of.”

What has impressed you the most with Utah State football since you were hired?

“The biggest things that hit me are how much the kids love football and how hard they work. There’s such a good focus here on the task at hand. Each and every minute that we’re out there is very productive. Each practice is run so smooth and so fast that we get a lot of work done in a short amount of time. You can’t do that without players that are really focused and coaches that are really organized.”

What are your impressions of Utah State four weeks into spring drills?

“Because I came from Washington State, I compare a lot of what I went through with them to where I am today. I’m very impressed with our caliber of athletes here, their size, their strength and their speed. They’re very comparable to, or better than, what I saw at Washington State. I’m very impressed with the skill level and the size and speed of our players and I think it’s very comparable to the Pac-12.”

As running backs coach, talk about the development of that group and your impressions of Joe Hill:

“The running back group has had a little bit of a difficult spring. We’ve had a lot of guys laid up. There were a couple of players that got hurt before spring and a couple more during spring. Robert Marshall was out prior to spring along with Sharrieff Shah. Then Kelvin (Lee) and Abou (Toure) both got hurt during spring. Joe Hill is having a great spring. He’s got a lot of ability and practices very, very well. He plays extremely hard and is very diligent in his daily work. Joey DeMartino has had a really good spring and has improved a lot. He’s really come on these last four or five practices and is getting a lot better. Those guys have gotten the majority of the work because of the injuries. I expect them to continue along and finish spring really strong, then go into fall camp ready to really do some damage.”

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