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Tom Smart, Deseret News
Offensive lineman Kevin Whimpey during Utah State University football team practice { dow}, Aug. 5, 2014, in Logan.
I think it was a spirited practice and that is to be expected when you put shoulder pads on. Quite honestly, the offense got after the defense. —Utah State head football coach Matt Wells

Utah State added shoulder pads to practice for the first time this fall during its third practice of fall camp Thursday, and second year head coach Matt Wells said he was pleased with the level of intensity, especially from the Aggies’ offense.

“I think it was a spirited practice and that is to be expected when you put shoulder pads on,” Wells said. “Quite honestly, the offense got after the defense. I thought it was a very below average practice by our D-line and I expect them to come out a lot more inspired the next couple of days. I thought the offensive line dominated a couple of the red zone and competition drills.”

Wells also highlighted a few players he thought have done well so far during fall camp.

“We continue to have great leadership by Zach Vigil and Kevin Whimpey," he said. "Zach is practicing like a pro right now. I was also pleased with the play of the three new running backs (LaJuan Hunt, Justen Hervey, Tonny Lindsey) for the third day in a row, and I thought the kickers were better today."

Higlights from Thursday’s practice included a pair of touchdown receptions from redshirt freshman wide receiver Braelon Roberts, while sophomore cornerback Devin Centers recorded his third interception in two days with a pick in the end zone. A pair of Aggie linebackers also looked impressive Thursday in senior Vigil and redshirt freshman Alex Huerta.

Thursday was the third 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 again practice with shoulder pads Friday before practicing in full pads 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 on 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 will 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.