Utah State football: Wells pleased with receiver progress this spring

By Tavin Stucki

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, April 5 2014 12:45 a.m. MDT

USU's Brandon Swindall during Utah State Aggies football practice Thursday, March 28, 2013, in Logan

Tom Smart, Deseret News

Enlarge photo»

LOGAN — Following Friday’s scrimmage, Utah State head coach Matt Wells said he’s pleased with his players’ progress.

“First of all, offensively I thought we did a nice job and executed a two-minute drill at the very end, and that was really good to see,” the second-year head coach said. “We protected and threw the ball well and caught the ball well.”

Sophomore quarterback Darrel Garretson took all the reps with the first-team offense, as he has since winning the starting job after then-junior Chuckie Keeton went down with a knee injury partway through last season. Garretson went 9-for-16 for 70 yards passing against the first-team defense.

Senior quarterback Craig Harrison went 10-for-17 for 151 yards and a touchdown, including a 38-yard pass to junior receiver Brandon Swindall — which was the longest of the afternoon until a double pass from Garretson to junior receiver Bruce 'Jojo' Natson to Swindall went 40 yards for a touchdown.

“I just had one job to do, I just had to get the ball to Jojo behind me,” Garretson said. “That was a pretty good ball, I mean for a wide receiver.”

Harrison also threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Damoun Patterson, a true freshman from Apopka, Fla.

“I think we gave up too many plays on defense,” said senior safety Frankie Sutera. “We didn’t have any picks, which was disappointing. We need to improve on that. Our goal is four turnovers a day, so we didn’t meet that one.”

Running back La’Bradford Harold scored against the second-team defense on a 10-yard option give, helped in part by a Harrison block at the goal line. Harold, a native of Crowley, Texas, converted from the safety position earlier this spring.

“He’s a big guy and he gets downhill,” Garretson said of Harold. “He was making some pretty good plays. The one thing about (Harold) is he came in as an athlete. He’s still pretty athletic, I say.”

Running back Kennedy Williams, younger brother of former Aggie Kerwynn Williams, scored late in the scrimmage on a 3-yard goal line push.

Other standouts included cornerback Jentz Painter with two pass breakups and seven tackles, running back Rashad Hall with 27 yards on nine carries and linebacker Chase Christiansen who had a fumble recovery.

“We’ve been on the top one or two in the nation in touchdowns given up in the red zone the last two years,” Wells said, “so that’s another good sign for the defense.”

Tanner Curtis and Jordan Brown each took snaps with the third-team offense.

The Aggies will practice twice next week before closing the spring season with their annual Blue vs. White Spring Game at 2 p.m. on Sat., April 12.

“We just need to keep doing what we’re doing,” Sutera said. “Even if we’re making mistakes, we just need to have the attitude that we’re going to be faster and run harder and play harder than the other guys. If we do that every day we’re going to improve and finish out spring well.”

Tavin Stucki is a senior journalism student at Utah State University and editor-in-chief of The Utah Statesman, the Aggie campus newspaper. Twitter: @DesNewsAggies @StuckiAggies

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