There’s a different feel around the office. You can tell it is Mountain West time. —Utah State head coach Matt Wells
The Utah State Aggies are heading into Mountain West play and head coach Matt Wells can already tell there is a different feeling.
“There’s a different feel around the office,” said Wells. “You can tell it is Mountain West time, it’s time for what we are really playing for and our goals and aspirations in terms of playing well in this league and trying to find a way to win a championship.”
As the Aggies take on Air Force this week, here are three things to watch for.
This is an area of struggle for the Aggies and according to Wells it’s an area that the Aggies must win if they want to win against the Falcons.
“We have to win on special teams,” said Wells. “I don’t think we’ve won on special teams yet. We played better on special teams this week (against Arkansas), but I don’t think we won in any of the three games for our standards on special teams.”
Kennedy Williams was a bright spot for the Aggies on special teams this past week. He had four kick-off returns for 74 yards. His longest return of the night was 23 yards. Look for him to make an impact this week.
Preseason play is over and now the fun really begins, the chase for the Mountain West championship. The Aggies are facing a well-rested Air-Force team as they’re coming off a bye week.
“I have a lot of work to do if I want to reach any of the goals that I want to reach,” said Ricky Ali’ifua. “Most importantly if I want to help get this team to a Mountain West championship, but collectively I think we’re coming along well.”
Brock Carmen has stepped up for the Aggies recently. He was named the College Sports Madness Mountain West Defensive Player of the Week. He recorded a career-high 12 tackles.
"He’s waited his time and really had a good off-season, a good summer, and I’m proud of his efforts and performance so far as the year started,” said Wells. "Hopefully, he can maintain that as the year goes on. I’m proud of Brock.”
A dominant defense
The Aggies are facing a team that is currently first in the nation in rushing and fifth in the nation on total defense. The defense let down in the third quarter when the Aggies played Arkansas, but bounced back in the fourth to help stop the push by the Red Wolves.
“Defensively, we have to have a solid plan, we have to have a sound plan,” said Wells. “You have to understand who has the fullback, who has the quarterback and who has pitch every play. You just have to be very sound in your assignments.”
The Aggies will need to have another solid game to stop the Falcons on Saturday. If they can play consistently, the Aggies could prove to be too much for the Falcons.
Carra McManamon is a native of Washington state and is attending the University of Utah. Contact her at email@example.com or follow her on Twitter: @curramac22