Utah State Aggies football: Can the defending MW champs defend their title?

Sitting in front of a white track record emblazoned with dozens of blue Us within the Jim and Carol Laub Athletics-Teachers Intricate at Utah State University on Thursday, Blake Anderson seemed comfortable.

The next-calendar year Aggie head football mentor smiled generally and joked freely with university media relations team and assembled media.

He appeared like a gentleman who was just the place he was meant to be.

Down the corridor, USU defensive coordinator Ephraim Banda was just as settled — only in his business office — with picturesque Maverik Stadium looming in the track record.

The identical was accurate for Aggie offensive coordinator Anthony Tucker, only his check out was of the Bear River Mountains to the northeast.

To a gentleman, the Aggies exuded convenience and assurance at Utah Point out football’s yearly media working day.

Coming into their second year less than Anderson, the Aggies have each and every correct to be that way.

12 months 1 was a rousing good results, as Utah State exceeded all exterior expectations and gained 11 online games — such as two from Electrical power Five opponents — as well as the program’s initially at any time Mountain West Meeting championship.

In spite of all that, and the return of history-breaking quarterback Logan Bonner, amongst other people, the Aggies weren’t tabbed as the convention title favorites, or even Mountain division favorites, this 12 months.

Not a solitary Aggie manufactured the preseason all-convention team both.

To say Utah Condition was not bothered by those people snubs would be a lie, but 2022 is a new year, and supplied the queries surrounding the software entering drop camp, anyone in Logan is about to get unpleasant in a hurry.

“It appears to be like yesterday that we were being in LA, ending up the bowl game and a championship weekend,” Anderson explained. “(It was a) good period, tons of pleasurable, but fact sets in true fast and slide camp 2022 is below.

“There are huge difficulties in advance of us.”

To title a handful of, Utah Condition should swap significant contributors on the two sides of the ball, together with linebacker Justin Rice, defensive linemen Marcus Moore and Nick Heninger and basic safety Shaq Bond.

On offense, large receivers Deven Thompkins, Derek Wright and Brandon Bowling are absent, as is offensive lineman Quazzel White, together with particular groups standouts Savon Scarver and Jordan Nathan.

All informed, Utah Point out ought to swap 11 starters from 2021, several of whom are amid the biggest Aggies in system historical past.

It does not conclude there.

The Aggies’ program was quite advantageous in 2021, but now Alabama — yes, THAT Alabama — replaces Washington Point out, Weber Condition replaces North Dakota and UConn replaces New Mexico State.

Toss in road game titles at Boise Point out and BYU, and there is tiny that is easy on Utah State’s 2022 slate.

“Everything just gets tougher,” Anderson explained. “The routine is a good little bit harder and everything gets harder in a conference that sees you coming.

“There is likely to be a feeling of consciousness of what we convey to the desk and how competitive we can be. It is a massive obstacle.”

Amid all that, the Aggies have welcomed 14 new four-year transfers who will want to be integrated in a hurry.

Incorporated amongst them are wide receivers Brian Cobbs (Maryland) and Xavier Williams (Alabama), defensive finish Daniel Grzesiak (Nevada), linebacker MJ Tafisi (Washington), former Utah and Fresno Condition managing back Jordan Wilmore, security Gurvan Corridor Jr. (Miami) and quarterback Levi Williams (Wyoming).

“There are a ton of new faces and we missing a great deal of productiveness,” Anderson mentioned. “There is a huge obstacle when you take into consideration the productivity that graduated and the new faces and the footwear that they have to fill.”

Can the Aggies defend their convention championship?

Anticipations inside of the method are these types of that they be expecting to. What happens all through fall camp will go a extensive way in identifying if these anticipations come to be reality, however.

“We will get to get the job done and see what we can build over the next thirty day period just before we get the option to engage in,” Anderson reported.

“There are some crucial attributes on the two sides of the ball that tumble camp requirements to respond to for us. We are going to have to be the most effective we can be just about every working day.”