5 things to ponder as Aggies enter fall camp
1. Will a healthy Chuckie Keeton live up to Heisman hopeful hype?
A year ago, the Aggies were headed into a much stronger conference with a rookie head coach. In a preseason filled with lots of questions, the one proven commodity was Chuckie Keeton — a junior quarterback so dynamic that Utah State put together a marketing campaign in an effort to gain the attention of Heisman Trophy voters.
A year later, Utah State is a proven force in the Mountain West Conference – the Aggies won the Mountain Division on their way to a 9-5 campaign — and Matt Wells is the reigning MWC Coach of the Year. However, those accomplishments came USU’s way despite the loss of Keeton on Oct. 4 with a torn ACL and MCL in his left knee. The Aggies rallied around true freshman Darrell Garretson, who went 6-1 as a starter, to turn a potential lost season into one of the best campaigns in USU history.
“My biggest joy was just being to watch all the guys come out and win, bond together and come out with some big wins,” Keeton said. Completely cleared for action this fall by the USU training staff, Keeton seems ready to take up where he left off in 2013 and was even named the MWC Preseason Offensive Player of the Year.
But while Aggie fans are likely to cringe every time the senior sees contact or walks down a flight of stairs, there is also comfort in knowing that Garretson – and the entire program, for that matter – still knows how to win without the aid of their superstar. That said, the hope is that Keeton will be healthy and comfortable on the field come Aug. 31 at Tennessee.
Under his guidance, the Aggies have come painfully close to pulling off epic road victories at Auburn, Wisconsin and USC.
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