UW-Utah State blog swap

I sent Utah State beat writer Wade Denniston of the Logan Herald Journal five questions about Saturday’s Wyoming-Utah State game. Follow him on Twitter: @wdbowler

1. What do you think the emotional state of Utah State is after three tough losses in its first four games?

One would think the Aggies would be down on themselves and what not, but that is not the case. Coach (Gary) Andersen and his staff have done a great job getting them prepared to play week in and week out. The Aggies believe they are on the cusp of turning this thing around and know they are close. This is what senior defensive end Levi Koskan told me this week: “We’re one play away. It’s not like we’re getting unfocused, it’s not like we’re not playing with effort and discipline. We’re just one play away, so what we’ve got to do to get over the hump is keep doing what we’re doing — keep our attitude, keep believing, don’t get pessimistic, don’t despair. It will turn our way. I absolutely believe it. I still absolutely believe 100 percent that we’re going to win the WAC championship and that we’re going to a bowl game and we’re going to win that bowl game. There’s no reason not to believe that we can’t get that accomplished.”

2. What has freshman quarterback Chuckie Keeton done well so far this season, and what are the areas he needs to continue to work on and develop?

Chuckie has done a phenomenal job just managing the offense. That’s all the coaching staff wanted the quarterback to do this season, especially with offensive weapons like Robert Turbin, Michael Smith, Kerwynn Williams, Matt Austin and Stanley Morrison. It’s hard for me to pin-point what Chuckie needs to do better at because he has yet to throw an interception and he’s completed 62.4 percent of his passes.

3. How good is running back Robert Turbin, and if you were a defensive coordinator how would you game plan to, at very least, slow him down?

Robert Turbin is as good as they come. He is an extremely gifted and talented running back and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him play in the NFL. He is powerful and fast. It’s very tough to slow him down. You’ve got to gang tackle him. If one player tries to tackle him, Turbin will usually bowl him right over. Honestly, the best thing I can say about Turbin, is he is well-liked and a very down-to-earth guy.

4. What have opposing offenses done well to move the ball against Utah State’s defense?

Teams have had more success passing the ball against the Aggies. USU used to be horrendous when it came to rushing defense, but has improved greatly this season. The Aggies rank second in the WAC and 35th in the nation in rushing D and 29th in the country and first in the WAC in total defense. However, quarterbacks have hurt the Aggies this year when they haven’t been able to get pressure on them, as was the case against BYU last week.

5. Kind of a two-fold question: Are fans excited for a team like Wyoming to come in being a somewhat regional rival, and what is your prediction for the final score?

 

It’s hard to gauge just how excited the fans are for a team like Wyoming to come in. There were 22,000-plus when CSU came to town, but given the fact the Aggies have lost so many close ones this year, some fans have probably jumped off the bandwagon, which is sad really. This is a really good team, the product on the field is better and USU is playing quality opponents at home like CSU and UW. Final score: USU 31, Wyoming 21. I think the Aggies finally get over the hump and close one out here! Sorry UW fans!!!

Any thoughts on this? Wade wasn’t able to take any of my questions, but I am working on possible another Q&A swap with another colleague of mine in Utah that covers the Aggies. This could make for some good conversation today for the weekly live chat at 3 p.m. Here’s the link: http://wyomingcowboysblog.com/2011/10/04/live-chat-october-6th-3pm/

 

  • Timmy Jack

    Great questions, Turbin is most likely tougher than Burkhead.
    I fear our D may be in for a long and difficult day trying to “corral” the backs from USU. I’m not so concerned about the passing attack from watching the Aggies on two seperate occasions. Smith is the better QB when comparing the two freshman. The question remains, will we continue to improve Defensively? If that answer is NO- then, we go down. If the anser is YES, we win another nail biter. I also cringe at the thought of our kicking game. Improvement both in the return game and the kicking game is a must. If Sullivan continues with the abysmal stuff he’s displayed to date- this will prove to be difficult to overcome. Additionally, showing some special teams performance would greatly enhance our options for a W. The add’l week of practice should provide us a catalyst for better play. Wrinkles in the Offense would be welcome, and I trust Brandon will have that side of the ball ready. I tend to agree with the Utah State writer, that is a good team we’re facing. How CSU managed a win down in Logan is a huge mystery. The Rams are not very good on either side of the ball, and that is a positive sign for our Pokes travelling to the beehive….however historically we’ve had trouble finding a win down there. Win, and become a true contender for the top 3 in the MWC. Lose and compete for a less than complete season.
    I’m ready, are the Cowboys?!

    • rgagliardi

      That’s the million dollar question Timmy, are the Cowboys ready? They better be.

      Thanks again for joining the live chat. It was fun.

      RG

  • Ron smith

    You know I like your Blog swap. It is a great idea. The Bowling Green guy put his thoughts on the line and it was truly informative. What would be ever so helpful would be if YOU gave us the www blog when your comments to Wade were published in his rag Sort of how you inform us of article around the horn on the MW. We just click and we are there. It would be fun to see how the other teams fans respond to your comments!!!!

    • rgagliardi

      Wade doesn’t have a blog or other platform like mine so he didn’t ask me any questions for this week’s swap.