When the assistant coaches divided up the talent earlier today in the "draft" to determine teams for Saturday's annual Blue-White scrimmage that concludes Utah State's spring football practice, chances are both sides got pretty competitive rosters.
The Aggies went into pre-season practice April 13 thinking they had their deepest team since Chuck Shelton took over as coach nearly six seasons ago, and Shelton has seen no reason to back off on his opinion since then.In fact, Shelton went into the spring hoping to find a backup quarterback for Ron Lopez and instead found Greg Angelovic wanting to challenge for the starting spot. Shelton went into the spring thinking backup Floyd Foreman would be good at running back while Roger Grant sits out following shoulder surgery, but instead, Foreman has surprised Shelton with his progress. Shelton went into the spring hoping to find a new tight end; he may have found two in Kevin Rice and former quarterback Kirk Johnson, who are both getting pushed by some junior-college transfers.
In other words, all the questions, except linebacker, have been positively answered already, and three transfer linebackers come into the program in August. And senior-to-be Del Lyles is living up to the promise he showed as a sophomore. "Phenomenal," Shelton says about him, guessing Lyles' improvement is due to being a senior and being injury-free.
"For the first time since I came to Utah State, I really do feel like a football coach," says Shelton, whose club was a school-record 5-1-1 in Big West Conference play last year in a 5-5-1 season.
"We've got some things we have to get put together, but we've got the people to do that," Shelton says.
He lists about 20 players with whom he's highly satisfied - "awfully good," he says of them - and he says he's not disappointed with anybody.
Angelovic, a 6-foot-1 transfer from Orange Coast College, was 14-for-23 passing for 204 yards and a touchdown to Rod Moore in last Saturday's scrimmage. "If he can grow as much again by Saturday, he'll be in contention" for a starting job in the fall, Shelton says. "He just seems to have a command of the offense, doesn't make a lot of errors, is accurate and has become somewhat elusive," says Shelton. The coach figures Angelovic learned the offense quickly because, "He's a sharp kid, a pre-med student."
Lopez, who passed for 1,961 yards as a part-time starter last year - he missed 1990 spring practice and had to learn on the job - was better the day he walked into spring practice than he was at the end of the '90 season, says Shelton.
Saturday's Blue-White game starts at 1 p.m. in Romney Stadium and will consist of four 12-minute quarters, Shelton says.