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2010 Utah State Preview
Utah State WR Stanley Morrison
Utah State WR Stanley Morrison
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted May 11, 2010


CollegeFootballNews.com 2010 Preview - Utah State Aggies


Utah State Aggies

Preview 2010
 

- 2010 Utah State Preview | 2010 Utah State Offense
- 2010 Utah State Defense | 2010 Utah State Depth Chart
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By Pete Fiutak

Head coach: Gary Andersen
2nd year: 4-8
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 21, Def. 22, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 15
Ten Best Utah State Players
1. QB Diondre Borel, Sr.
2. LB Bobby Wagner, Jr.
3. CB Chris Randle, Sr.
4. WR/PR Stanley Morrison, Jr.
5. LB Kyle Gallagher, Jr.
6. S Rajric Coleman, Sr.
7. RB Michael Smith, Sr.
8. OT Spencer Johnson, Sr.
9. S Walter McClenton, Jr.
10. RB Robert Turbin, Jr.*
*Turbin would be No. 2 without his knee injury
2010 Schedule

Sept. 4 at Oklahoma
Sept. 11 Idaho St
Sept. 18 Fresno St
Sept. 25 at San Diego St
Oct. 1 BYU
Oct. 9 at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 16 OPEN DATE
Oct. 23 Hawaii
Oct. 30 at Nevada
Nov. 6 New Mexico
Nov. 13 at San Jose St
Nov. 20 Idaho
Nov. 27 OPEN DATE
Dec. 4 at Boise State

When a program has been struggling for as long as Utah State has, going on 13 years without a winning season, any sign of life becomes magnified. Last year’s 4-8 run was hardly anything to get giddy over, but it was a terrific step in the right direction under first year head man Gary Andersen. It showed that the team could be competitive, and it showed that the offense worked.

There always has to be at least one thing a losing team can count on week in and week out, and there has to be a philosophy and, for lack of a better word, a quirk to make teams worry. Utah State’s thing is going to be its dangerous spread offense with a lightning fast running game, and after last year, the results will be tremendous if there can be just a wee bit of defense.

You are what your record is, but the Aggies can be excited about losing four games by eight points or fewer, and losing to New Mexico State, Nevada, and Fresno State by a total of ten points. A few breaks here and there, and maybe a defensive stop now and then, and Utah State could’ve been Idaho and been the surprise team of 2009.

This year’s team has a ton of speed with flashes of lightning at receiver, fast backs, and an All-WAC caliber dual threat in Diondre Borel under center to hope for even more production after finishing 12th in the nation in total offense. Defensively, there’s nowhere to go but up after allowing yards in bunches, but there are several talented veterans to work around and good promise at linebacker and in the secondary. Throw in the good special teams, and it’s all there to finally, finally make some noise in conference play.

But Aggie fans have heard it all before.

The program was close to turning the corner for years under Brent Guy, at least that was the hope, with effort never a problem. For all the yards and all the production and all the success of the offense, 4-8 is 4-8. It might have been the most successful season since 2002, but it was still a losing season. Now Andersen has to build on his 2009 and come up with a winning campaign, or at least go .500, or else there will be a concern that it’s just going to be more of the same.

What to watch for on offense: Robert Turbin’s knee. The junior cranked out 1,296 yards and 13 touchdowns, with five more receiving scores, in a special season as the focal point of the high-octane attack. He was going to get even more work this year, but he suffered a fluke knee injury in February and underwent ACL surgery. The hope is to get him back by mid-October when the WAC schedule fully kicks in, but in a perfect world he’s allowed to sit and give his knee 18 months to be back to normal. That depends on the production of Michael Smith, a lightning fast back with the potential to pull off a big year now that he gets more work. Derrvin Speight and the blazing Kerwynn Williams will also be a regular part of the rotation.

What to watch for on defense: A tremendous linebacking corps. Bobby Wagner earned First Team All-WAC honors after doing a little bit of everything for the Utah State defense, but Kyle Gallagher got unnoticed even with a solid 53 tackle season being better than the stats. Junior Keiaho and Jerome Barbour are two talented strongside prospects who’ll thrive with Wagner and Gallagher cleaning everything else up.

The team will be far better if … it can generate a pass rush. If the defense is supposed to be based on being quick and aggressive, there has to be more than a few plays made in the backfield. The Aggies were 100th in the nation in sacks and 109th in tackles for loss, and it put a major strain on the back seven. If the linebackers were able to do more than worry about plugging the holes, and the secondary got time to cover someone, the defense would be far more productive. GG

The schedule: It’s just tough enough to prevent a huge turnaround season, but the Aggies have to take advantage of the games they have a reasonable chance of winning. On the plus side, there aren’t any long runs of road games and there are four home dates before late October. Forget about competing at Oklahoma to start the season and there’s almost no chance at pulling off an upset at Boise State to close things out, but there have to be home wins over Idaho State, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Idaho to provide a base of victories to work off of. Getting a split at Louisiana Tech and San Jose State is a must, and there has to be at least a shocker or three along the way (like at home against Fresno State or at Nevada) to get a winning record.

Best offensive player: Senior QB Diondre Borel. With Turbin out, more will be put on Borel’s shoulders after he came up with a tremendous 2009. Unfortunately, he plays in the same league as Boise State’s Kellen Moore and Nevada’s Colin Kaepernick, so he won’t get too much in the way of post-season recognition, but he’ll be among the most dangerous playmakers in the league. He has to stay on the field so he might not run 173 times again, but he’s an effective passer who threw 17 touchdowns and four interceptions and needs to utilize the speedy receivers better.

Best defensive player: Junior LB Bobby Wagner. The First Team All-WAC performer beefed up without losing any of his speed and quickness making 115 tackles with two interceptions and eight tackles for loss. He’s the leader for the strong linebacking corps and has to do even more with the line in front of him not likely to be much better. He might be used more as a pass rusher after failing to generate a sack last year.

Key player to a successful season: Senior DT Daniel Gurrola. The entire defensive line needs to do more, and generating a pass rush is a must, but the run defense could also use more production against the run and a bigger presence inside. The 6-1, 282-pound Gurrola and the 5-11, 286-pound Sean Enesi must turn into space-eaters the rest of the defense can work around.

The season will be a success if … the Aggies win six games. If Idaho can come up with a winning season, then why not Utah State? After all, the Aggies beat the Vandals late last year. It might be asking for too much to win seven games, every break would have to go State’s way, but a 6-6 year with bowl eligibility would be amazing for one of the nation’s consistently worst programs.

Key game: Sept. 18 vs. Fresno State. For all the problems Utah State has had, it’s a not-that-bad 10-14-1 against Fresno State losing the last two games by a total of six points and won 13-12 in 2006. In the WAC opener, especially at home, a win would set the tone for the rest of the season and would make a bowl bid a real, live possibility.

2009 Fun Stats:
- Sacks: Opponents 32 for 213 yards – Utah State 17 for 116 yards
- Utah State 2nd quarter scoring: 109 – 3rd quarter scoring: 53
- Interceptions thrown: Opponents 12 – Utah State 4

- 2010 Utah State Preview | 2010 Utah State Offense
- 2010 Utah State Defense | 2010 Utah State Depth Chart
- Utah State Previews  2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006