LOGAN Week one of spring ball is officially in the books following Utah State’s fourth practice Saturday on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium.

“Four practices is not typical for us during spring ball, so it’s an extra day and it was a grind on the kids,” said first-year USU head coach Gary Andersen, who is in his fifth year overall in charge of the Aggies. “I thought they handled it well mentally and physically. We have a lot of work to do like you always have after week one of spring football. We had a little light work today, which was great to see. It was a positive day out here and all four practices have been a positive with two days in pads and two days without pads.

“Now,” Andersen continued, “the key is to go back, continue to learn, watch the tape, learn and educate on Monday, get a lift in and come back on Tuesday and keep going. We had a coaches high school clinic today and there are a bunch of high school coaches for us. That is a great opportunity for us to show the coaches in the state and other states to see our facilities and what our program is all about.”

As Utah State prepares for the 2019 campaign, the Aggies return nine starters as part of 35 letterwinners, including two All-Americans and eight players that earned various all-Mountain West honors, from last year’s team that ended the season ranked 21st in the final Amway Coaches poll and 22nd in the final Associated Press poll.

The Aggies tied the school record for wins and best record in 2018 with an 11-2 mark following their 52-13 win against North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl. Utah State also tied for first place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 7-1 record.

Utah State also welcomes back 29 players that redshirted last season, to go along with 13 more players that were members of the team in 2018. Of those 42 players listed above, 26 saw action last season with 24 appearing in multiple games. The Aggies also welcome 14 newcomers to the squad this spring, including five junior college transfers and nine incoming freshmen.

Highlighting Utah State’s returners in 2019 are two players that earned All-America honors a season ago in junior WR/KR Savon Scarver and junior LB David Woodward. Scarver was tabbed a first-team All-American from the Walter Camp Football Foundation, the Football Writers Association of America and Phil Steele’s Magazine, and earned second-team All-American honors from the American Football Coaches Association.

“I like how everybody is playing fast,” Scarver said of the first week of spring camp. “We have a new playbook and everybody is trying to learn it. I’ve seen a lot of progression throughout the week. Everybody is still progressing and still learning the offense.”

Woodward was named a first-team All-American by ProFootballFocus.com and a third-team All-American by The Associated Press. Scarver was also named first-team all-Mountain West as a kick returner, while Woodward earned second-team all-conference accolades.

Six other returning Aggies earned various all-Mountain West honors a year ago as senior LB Tipa Galeai and junior QB Jordan Love were both named to the second team, while senior PK Dominik Eberle, senior DE Fua Leilua, senior DT Christopher ’Unga and senior CB DJ Williams all garnered honorable mention honors.

“We’re learning the new system each and every day,” Williams said. “We’re really focusing on effort right now. We’ll catch on to the adjustments on defense and we’re trying to focus on effort every day. We’re making progress every day and that’s good.”

During the five-week period, the Aggies will participate in 15 spring practice sessions, including their annual Blue vs. White Spring Game on Saturday, April 13 at noon on Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium. Five more practices are open to the public this spring – March 28 and 30 and April 4, 9 and 13. Furthermore, media interviews will be available upon request following any practice.

Head coach Gary Andersen

On what impressed him the most during the first week of spring ball:

“The overall work ethic, not just on the field, but off the field. The offensive line got better as the week went on and they are playing with some toughness and physicalness. We all know they have a long way to go with the youthfulness they have, but they’re not using that as a crutch and as an excuse. All three quarterbacks had a good week.”

On what players stood out to him, besides the quarterbacks:

“We didn’t let (running back Gerold) Bright go into live stuff today, but he’s such a consistent competitor and a tremendous leader for the younger running backs that are behind him. (David) Woodward is a tremendous player and learning some of the nuances and new wrinkles we have on the defensive side. He adjusted to that and is a tremendous player. Devin (Heckstall) has done a nice job of catching the football consistently, which is good to see. Jordan (Love) continues to grow and develop, and I was very pleased with the way all three quarterbacks handled the system. I’m changing the pace of them and I don’t let them play fast all the time and that’s a little bit difficult for them to be able to pump the brakes. We have a lot of look-over looks and we go 10 plays right in a row, which we are not shaped to do that. Those quarterbacks had to adjust a little bit to that and they've done a nice job.”

On what he is looking forward to next week:

“We’re going to build ourselves up to a big scrimmage on Saturday. We’ll be out here Tuesday in what we call Aggie Gear, which is shoulder pads and helmets. It will be a big technique of fundamental day again. We’re not adding a lot of offense, we’re not adding a lot of defense. It’s not about out-scheming each other, it’s about playing technique and fundamental. We’ll have more opportunities to tackle as we continue to go through, which is a cornerstone of the defense. On the offensive side of the ball, we need to continue to work to get playmakers and those base schemes. We have to keep grinding. Special teams, coach (Stacy) Collins has done a tremendous job of putting in the drills we need. It will be nice to see some of those competitive drills come out and get some full work in special teams.”

Senior Cornerback DJ Williams

On what impressed him the most from a defensive side of the ball during the first week of spring camp:

“I’ve seen a lot of young guys step up. That’s one thing we really needed and it’s young guys in the defensive backfield that are making plays. I’ve seen linebackers and linemen making plays. The young guys making plays has really impressed me.”

On which young guys have impressed him:

“Andre (Grayson) had an interception today, which was nice. The junior college transfers, Troy (Lefeged Jr.) and Cash (Gilliam), have been doing well.”

On what he is looking forward to next week as the team prepares for Saturday’s scrimmage:

“Just not making the same mistakes we made this week, cleaning up those mistakes, and having more effort, including myself.”

Junior Wide Receiver Savon Scarver

On how the team has adjusted to the new coaching staff:

“I like the new coaching staff and they haven’t tried to change that much. They’re trying to add and perfect our system, and get us to a point where we can play and think faster on the field.”

On some of the players on the offensive side of the ball that have stood out to him:

“Jordan Love, because every day, I see him at practice and he’s working on getting his arm stronger.”

On other guys that have made an impact:

“Kyler Hack on the offensive line is really using his hands and playing fast, smart football.”

On what he is looking forward to next week as the team prepares for Saturday’s scrimmage:

“I want to see us all play faster and get up to speed. We usually play fast and I want us all to think together and play faster.”

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2019 Utah State Football Spring Practice Dates Tuesday, March 26 - (Closed) Thursday, March 28 - 2:15 - 4:30 p.m. (Open to Public and Media) Saturday, March 30 - 10:45 - 1 p.m. – Scrimmage (Open to Public and Media)

Tuesday, April 2 - (Closed) Thursday, April 4 - 2:15 - 4:30 p.m. (Open to Public and Media) Saturday, April 6 - (Closed)

Tuesday, April 9 - 2:15 - 4:30 p.m. (Open to Public and Media) Thursday, April 11 - (Closed) Saturday, April 13 - Noon - Blue vs. White Spring Game (Open to Public and Media)

Monday, April 15 - (Closed) Tuesday, April 16 - (Closed)