Utah State head coach Matt Wells praised the defense during the second day of fall camp Wednesday as the team practiced for roughly two hours on the USU practice fields.
Highlighting the Aggies’ defense was sophomore cornerback Devin Centers, who intercepted two passes and returned both for touchdowns from inside the 20-yard line during an 11-on-11 session near the end of practice.
“Devin is playing with a lot of confidence,” Wells said. “He carries himself differently and he's completely invested. It's funny how sometimes those guys end up playing really good. I'm happy with his progress.”
Along with Centers, freshman cornerback Jalen Davis (La Mesa, California/Helix HS) and reshirt freshman linebacker Alex Huerta also recorded interceptions during drills.
“The defense did a great job of hawking the ball in some situations and disguising the pressures,” Wells said. “On the flip side, offensively, I think they were sloppy with the football. That will be the first thing that gets you beat on offense. You've got to be stingy with the ball. I didn't think the kickers were ready to practice today. They've got to figure that out.”
On the offensive side of the ball, Wells said he was pleased with the production of junior wide receiver JoJo Natson and has liked the play of a pair of freshman running backs in LaJuan Hunt (Fort Lauderdale, Florida/University HS) and Justen Hervey (Beaumont, Texas/Westbrook HS).
“I thought the offense had a good practice, except for being sloppy at the end. You've got to do it at the end when you're tired. I thought the defense won the battle at the end of the day. Sometimes that can be the difference in the ball game.”
Wednesday was the second of 29 practices for Utah State leading up to its season opener at Tennessee on Sunday, Aug. 31 at 5 p.m. MT.
As part of the NCAA's five-day “acclimatization period”, the Aggies will add shoulder pads on Thursday and Friday before practicing in full pads on Saturday, Aug. 9. The first two-a-day is scheduled for Monday, Aug. 11, and USU’s first scrimmage will be on Merlin Olsen Field at Romney Stadium on Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 6 p.m.
Utah State opens the 2014 season Sunday, Aug. 31, at Tennessee and plays its first home game the following weekend against Idaho State on Saturday, Sept. 6 at 6 p.m. USU's first Mountain West game will be at home against Air Force on Saturday, Oct. 11, and the Aggies conclude the regular season at MW foe Boise State on Saturday, Nov. 29. The Mountain West Championship game will be held Saturday, Dec. 6, at the home stadium of the divisional champion with the highest College Football Playoff Committee ranking.
All practices during fall camp, which concludes Saturday, Aug. 23, are open to the public.
Doug Hoffman is the associate athletic director for Utah State University Athletic Media Relations.