Hopefully we've got these guys as fresh as they can be right now going into this stretch of the season. I feel confident that we do. —Matt Wells
LOGAN — Utah State didn’t lace up the cleats last Saturday, but having a bye last week has felt a little bit like coming off a victory for head coach Matt Wells and the rest of the battle-weary Aggies. The team went lighter on the contact portion of practices. It also was able to get some of the younger players in the program extra reps to try and aid their development and rest the regular starters for the home stretch.
“This was just what the doctor ordered for all of us as a staff and as a program,” Wells said. “Hopefully we've got these guys as fresh as they can be right now going into this stretch of the season. I feel confident that we do.”
When asked which of his players benefited the most from the off week, Wells responded that every single one of them needed the time off. Utah State has not had a break in the schedule since opening up fall camp in August.
YOUNG GUNS — There were plenty of players who showed well during a team scrimmage the Aggies held last week who might become household names for the Aggies in the coming years. Wells pointed out freshman Tyshon Mosley and sophomore Austin Stephens as standouts on the offensive line. At the skill positions, Rashad Hall, a junior running back from Contra Costa College, and wide-outs Hayden Weichers and Tyler Weese were guys who "flashed" on tape. On defense, Myron Turner, a freshman safety, was another player who stuck out for Wells.
ON THE ROAD — While the players rested up, the coaches logged some serious miles on the bye week on the recruiting trail. The offices were empty over the weekend as the coaches hit high schools and junior colleges in Utah and throughout the country evaluating potential targets and unearthing new prospects. In-home visits don’t start until later in the year, but Wells believes that the Aggies being on TV nearly every week will help with their recruiting efforts.
“We'll see the effect of that a little bit more in December and January when we start really talking to them,” Wells said. “We're not in their homes yet. We've played well on TV and we have TV games coming up. Just because you're on TV doesn't mean it's going to help you. You've got to play well and you've got to win.”
This year the Aggies will play nine games on nationally televised networks and another two will be broadcast regionally on ROOT Sports.
NOTES — A kickoff time against UNLV next week has finally been announced. The Aggies and Rebels will start at 6 p.m. MST and the game will be televised by ESPNU. Utah State has won its last seven games in the month of November. A victory against Hawaii would be the 27th victory for the 2013 senior class and break the all-time record for wins over a four-year period. The old record was set in 1962 and was equaled by the 2012 senior class.
Kraig Williams is a 2010 Utah State University graduate and regular Deseret News sports blogger. He can be followed on Twitter @DesNewsKraig.