Utah State excited about QB Borel's second season


POSTED: Sunday, August 30, 2009


Diondre Borel doesn't own the most recognizable name among Western Athletic Conference quarterbacks.

Not yet, anyway.

As a sophomore, Borel emerged from a tight quarterback competition to take command of the Utah State offense and lead the Aggies to wins over Hawaii and New Mexico State and a shootout loss at Louisiana Tech last November.

Where he began last season as a gifted young athlete brimming with potential, Borel enters his junior year as a leader of the Utah State offense and can further elevate his profile if the Aggies continue their progress under first-year coach Gary Andersen.

“;I believe I can be one of those top guys,”; Borel said. “;I don't know if anybody will believe in me, but my coach does and my teammates do and believe I can get up there.”;

Andersen takes over a Utah State program that has gone 8-24 since joining the league in 2005, and hasn't had a .500 season since 1996. The Aggies haven't won more than three games in a season since going 4-7 in 2002.







FridayCentral Arkansas
Sept. 12at Washington State
Sept. 19at UNLV
Sept. 30at Louisiana Tech
Oct. 10Fresno State
Oct. 17at Idaho
Oct. 24Boise State
Oct. 31at Nevada
Nov. 7Utah State
Nov. 14New Mexico State
Nov. 21at San Jose State
Nov. 28Navy
Dec. 5Wisconsin





But Andersen's move to Logan, Utah, after five years as defensive coordinator at Utah—where he helped guide the Utes to a 13-0 record last season—and Borel's return have sparked optimism in the Cache Valley.

But Andersen knows growth often comes in increments.

“;At the end of the day our goal is going to be able to get into a game, compete, find a way to get the game to the fourth quarter,”; Andersen said.

“;If you look at the history over the last few years, there haven't been a lot of games where these kids have been in a position where they have to make plays to be able to win. That's something we have to develop.”;

Borel's development as a passer figures to be a key in the Aggies' fortunes.

Borel earned a reputation as a dangerous runner in rushing for 632 yards and five touchdowns. The new coaching staff wants to capitalize on Borel's speed, while having him develop patience in the pocket in the Aggies' spread offense.

Hawaii was witness to Borel's dual-threat ability last season when he accounted for 310 yards of total offense (223 passing and 87 rushing) and threw for three touchdowns in a 30-14 win over the Warriors.

“;Our goal is to be able to truly get him in a position to use his athletic ability,”; Andersen said.

“;I see some quarterbacks in this league who have the ability to beat you with their mind, beat you with their feet and beat you with their arm. That's what we have to get out of Diondre.”;

Running back Robert Turbin, who rushed for 485 yards and eight touchdowns, joins Borel in the backfield. Andersen shifted 15 players in revamping the defense, some changing positions within the unit or moving over from offense.

Safety James Brindley and linebacker Paul Igboeli return to form the foundation for a defense.

“;We're not real big, so we have to keep people guessing,”; Andersen said. “;We have to be able to run and move and cause people some problems in understanding where we are.”;

While building a winner in Logan is a challenge unto itself, Andersen also faces a schedule that has the Aggies playing four of their first five games on the road, including visits to Utah, Texas A&M and BYU.