Fiu, Cirminiello, Mitchell on TV - Campus Insiders | Buy College Football Tickets

2008 Utah State Preview
Utah State TE Rob Myers
Utah State TE Rob Myers
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 12, 2008


CollegeFootballNews.com 2008 Preview - Utah State Aggies

Utah State Aggies

Preview 200
8

By Pete Fiutak

- 2008 CFN Utah State Preview | 2008 Utah State Offense
- 2008 Utah State Defense | 2008 Utah State Depth Chart
- 2007 Utah State Preview
| 2006 CFN Utah State Preview 

Interested in blogging about WAC football?  Let us know

Preview Utah State's Opening Day Opponent
 
2008 UNLV Preview

In the history of college sports, has any coach ever started out a career 6-29 and been given a vote of confidence? That's what Utah State's Brent Guy got from new athletic director Scott Barnes, at least he got a little bit of one, but there won't be a year five without a big improvement this season. And for good reason.

This has been one of the nation's worst teams over the last few years in just about every way possible. Outside of the greatness of kick and punt returner Kevin Robinson, who was drafted by Kansas City in the sixth round this year, the team has done absolutely nothing. To make matters worse, 20 starters returned last season and there was a major upgrade in the kicking game. It still didn't matter.

Head coach: Brent Guy
4th year: 6-29
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 13, Def. 24, ST 3
Lettermen Lost: 13
Ten Best Aggie Players
1. LB Jake Hutton, Sr.
2. TE Rob Myers, Sr.
3. LB Paul Igboeli, Jr.
4. DT/DE Ben Calderwood, Sr.
5. C Ryan Tonnemacher, Sr.
6. OT Spencer Johnson, Soph.
7. SS James Brindley, Jr.
8. FS Caleb Taylor, Sr.
9. DT Casey Davis, Jr.
10. DT Magnmu Mauga, Jr.

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 1-11
2008 Record: 0-0

Aug. 30 at UNLV
Sept. 6 at Oregon
Sept. 13 Utah
Sept. 20 Idaho
Sept. 27 OPEN DATE
Oct. 3 BYU
Oct. 11 at San Jose State
Oct. 18 at Nevada
Oct. 25 Fresno State
Nov. 1 Hawaii
Nov. 8 at Boise State
Nov. 15 at Louisiana Tech
Nov. 22 OPEN DATE
Nov. 29 New Mexico State

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 0-12
2007 Record: 2-10

Aug. 30 UNLV L 23-16
Sept. 8 at Wyoming L 32-14
Sept. 15 at Oklahoma L 54-3
Sept. 22 San Jose St L 23-20
Sept. 29 at Utah L 34-18
Oct. 6 at Hawaii L 52-37
Oct. 20 Nevada L 31-28
Oct. 27 Louisiana Tech L 31-21
Nov. 3 at Fresno St L 38-27
Nov. 10 Boise State L 52-0
Nov. 17 at N
MSU  W 35-17
Nov. 24 at Idaho W 24-19

However, the Aggies ended an ugly 0-10 start with wins over New Mexico State and Idaho to close out the season, and while it might not have looked pretty on the stat sheet, the team was far, far more competitive than it was in past seasons. It wasn't the pushover it was during the first few years of the Guy era.

Once again there's experience with 17 starters coming back, and that doesn't even begin to tell the story on defense where there are 11 different players able to start in the secondary, depth at linebacker, and an upgrade at tackle with the addition of two key JUCO transfers. There's no excuse for the defense not to be a bit better, but in the WAC, you need an offense; Utah State is still trying to find one.

The Aggies have never been able to keep up in shootouts and now they're trying to figure out their quarterback situation, have nothing to count on from the receiving corps, and have to pray there aren't any injuries to the starters on the offensive line.

No, it's not all doom and gloom for the Aggies and the Guy era. This doesn't have to be a winning season for him to stick around, but the team does need to keep improving and there does have to be some sign that things are pointed in the right direction.

What to watch for on offense: A better running game. That was supposed to happen last year, too, and the Aggies ended up averaging a meager 124 yards per game on the ground. Offensive coordinator Darrell Dickey, who guided North Texas to some mega-rushing years led by backs Patrick Cobbs and Jamario Thomas, and while he's not going to get that kind of production, the Aggie backs know what they're doing and should be able to produce more behind a veteran line.

What to watch for on defense: The tackles. With top end Ben Calderwood moving to the inside to join veteran Alan Bishop, and with the addition of JUCO transfers Casey Davis and Magnmu Mauga, the Aggies are making a commitment to be better inside against the run. It's not like the WAC is full of pounding running teams, but the USU defensive front got ripped apart by anyone who tried to run. That should change with the improvements made.

The team will be far better if … it can generate a little bit of pressure. While the Aggies were able to beat New Mexico State, it's hard to be competitive in the WAC if you can't get into the backfield. USU was 115th in the nation in sacks and 111th in tackles for loss despite having a decent group of ends to work around. Now the hope has to be to generate more pressure from all four spots up front while smallish outside linebackers Kyle Gallagher and Paul Igboeli have to start wreaking havoc.
 
The Schedule:
As it has been over the last few years, the Aggies won't have any real sure-thing wins. There's not the FCS warm-up the team probably needs starting out at UNLV before almost certain losses at Oregon and against Utah. Then comes the one game that has to be a win: Idaho. Forget about beating BYU or winning at San Jose State and at Nevada, and then it's all about catching someone napping at the right time like Hawaii or New Mexico State. 

Best Offensive Player: Senior TE Rob Myers. He led the nation in average yards per catch for a tight end with 15.2, but he only got the ball thrown his way 21 times. That should change as he's now the team's main receiving weapon.

Best Defensive Player: Senior LB Jake Hutton. The second-team All-WAC performer made plenty of stops and was a steady force after being able to stay healthy for the first time in his career, but he didn't make enough significant plays. He's the leader of the veteran defense and he needs to be an all-star again for there to be any overall improvement.

Key player to a successful season: Senior QB Sean Setzer. Jase McCormick is in the running for the starting quarterback job, but the offense needs Setzer to be a player. McCormick is fine, Setzer could be far better, but he had an arm problem and he wasn't able to do much last season. He's the passer the offense has been missing for years, and with a new receiving corps in place, steady quarterback play is a must.

The season will be a success if ... the Aggies win four games. It's been five years since the program has cracked the three-win plateau and 1996 was the last winning season. The expectations aren't sky high, they don't have to win the WAC, but they have find a way to at least get to four wins and they have to show that there's a little bit of improvement in the Guy era. That might be tough considering they'll likely be the underdogs against everyone but Idaho.

Key game: Aug. 30 at UNLV. Same game, same date, different year, different location. The Aggies lost to the Rebels at home on August 30th of last year in a 23-16 heartbreaker after giving up 14 second half points. Considering Idaho is the only realistic chance for a win early on, beating UNLV is a must or else it'll be another ugly start to the season. The tone has to be set right away that this year, and this team, is different.

2007 Fun Stats: 
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 112 - Utah State 31
- Punt return average: Utah State 18.3 yards - Opponents 11 yards
- Sacks: Opponents 30 - Utah State 12