Utah State Aegies Football: Can the MW Champions Defend Their Title?

Seated in front of a white background decorated with blue US scores inside the Jim and Carol Loeb Athletics Complex at Utah State University on Thursday, Blake Anderson It looked comfortable.

Sophomore football coach Agee smiled a lot and was joking freely with the school’s media relations staff and the group media.

He looked like a guy who was exactly where he was supposed to be.

Down the hall, USC defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda was perfectly still—just in his office—with picturesque Maverick Stadium looming in the background.

The same was true of Agee’s offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker, only his view was around the Bear River Mountains in the northeast.

For the man, the Aggies showed comfort and confidence at Utah’s annual Football Media Day.

Entering their second year under Anderson, the Aegians have every right to be that way.

The first year was an amazing success, with Utah State exceeding all outside expectations and winning 11 games—including two against Power Five competitors—plus Mountain West Conference’s first ever tournament.

Despite all that, the record-breaking midfielder is back Logan Bonneramong others, Aggies Not marked as preferred conference titleor even a favorite in the mountain department, this year.

None of the AJE’s made the CPC team either.

To say that Utah State wasn’t bothered by those criticism would be a lie, but 2022 is a new season, and given the questions surrounding the program entering fall camp, everyone at Logan is about to quickly get uneasy.

“Looks like yesterday we were in LA, where we finished the bowling game and the championship weekend,” Anderson said. “(It’s been) a great season, full of fun, but the reality of the 2022 real fast and fall camp is here.

“There are huge challenges ahead.”

To name a few, Utah State should replace major contributors on both sides of the ball, including linebackers Justin Rice, linebackers Marcus Moore and Nick Henger and safety Shack Bond.

In the event of an attack, wide receivers Deven Thompkins, Derek Wright and Brandon Bowling, as well as offensive lineman Quazzel White, were all but gone, along with distinguished special teams Savon Scarver and Jordan Nathan.

Finally, Utah must replace 11 freshmen from 2021, many of whom are among the greatest Ages in program history.

It doesn’t end there.

The Aggies schedule was rather useful in 2021, but now Alabama — yes, Alabama — replaces Washington State, Weber State replaces North Dakota and Yukon replaces New Mexico.

Enjoy road games in Boise State and BYU, and there are a few easy things to do on Utah’s 2022 list.

“Everything is getting more and more difficult,” Anderson said. “The schedule is a little bit harder and everything is getting more and more difficult in the conference that sees you coming.

“There will be a sense of awareness of what we are putting on the table and how competitive we can be. It is a huge challenge.”

Amid it all, the two teams have welcomed 14 new four-year transfers and will need to merge in a hurry.

They include wide receivers Brian Cobbs (Maryland) and Xavier Williams (Alabama), defensive end Daniel Grzysiak (Nevada), linebacker MJ Taveese (Washington), former Utah and Fresno backstop Jordan Wilmore, and Salameh Jorvan Hall Jr. (Miami). ). ) and midfielder Levi Williams (Wyoming).

“There are a lot of new faces and we lost a lot of productivity,” Anderson said. “There is a huge challenge when you think about the productivity that has resulted, the new faces and the shoes that you have to fill in.”

Can the Aggies defend their conference championship?

The expectations within the program are the kind that they expect. What happens during fall camp will go a long way in determining whether or not these predictions will come true.

“We’ll get to work and see what we can create over the next month before we get the chance to play,” Anderson said.

“There are some key traits on both sides of the ball that fall camp needs to respond to for us. We have to be the best we can be every day.”