Utah State's football team turned the intensity up a notch by suiting up in full pads for the first time during fall camp inside Maverik Stadium on Tuesday afternoon. The practice included a little bit of everything, from positional drills to a controlled scrimmage with referees.
"A lot of competition today being the first day with full pads on," said sixth-year head coach Matt Wells. "Our guys know how to compete and practice, and we have gotten better at that from last year."
Offensive highlights from the first day in full pads included a 65-yard touchdown strike from sophomore QB Jordan Love to sophomore WR Jordan Nathan, a 43-yard completion from Love to senior WR Ron’quavion Tarver and a 47-yard touchdown pass from freshman QB Andrew Peasley to freshman WR Deven Thompkins.
“We have a confident quarterback coming back, so I am happy where Jordan is at right now,” added Wells. “We have five returning starters back on the O-line, a lot of talent at receiver and tight end and a good bunch of running backs. We just need to find out who the best ones are right now.”
Other offensive players who flashed during Tuesday’s practice include junior running back Darwin Thompson, who scored on a 2-yard run, and sophomore WR Taylor Compton, who had two catches for 20 yards.
When asked who has impressed him and the coaching staff the most during the first week of fall camp, Wells was quick to talk about three wide receivers in graduate transfer Jalen Greene, junior college transfer Devin Heckstall and Thompkins.
Defensive highlights from Tuesday's practice included an interception from freshman S Christian Nash and a red zone pass breakup from sophomore S Ja’Marcus Ingram.
“I like where the D-line is at right now,” said Wells. “Tipa Galeai, Fua Leilua, Adewale Adeoye and Jacboy Wildman have all had a good camp. In the secondary, Gaje Ferguson is a great leader for us. We just need some leaders to step up in the linebacker room.”Comment on this story
Tuesday was the fifth of 24 practices for the Aggies leading up to their season-opening game at Michigan State on Friday, Aug. 31, at 5 p.m. MT, in a game that will be nationally televised on the Big Ten Network. Utah State then begins its home season the following weekend against New Mexico State on Saturday, Sept. 8, at 6 p.m., in a game that will be streamed live on Facebook. Mountain West play begins two weeks later as USU hosts Air Force on Saturday, Sept. 22, in a game that will be televised nationally on one of the ESPN Networks.
Utah State's first two scrimmages are closed to the public, but fans are invited to its last scrimmage as part of Family Football Fun Day at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 18, at 2 p.m.