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Aggies’ Guy eyes
Editor's note: This is the 10th in a series of 12 articles on Hawaii's opponents for the 2005 football season. Tomorrow: Wisconsin.
Merlin Olsen went from the little football team in the mountains to the "Little House on the Prairie."
Before his TV career, the Los Angeles Rams' star played in 14 Pro Bowls.
Olsen, one of the greatest defensive tackles in football history, won the 1961 Outland Trophy while playing for Utah State.
In the years since, the Aggies managed at least a share of five Big West championships, but USU always felt it belonged in the Western Athletic Conference with its neighbors BYU and Utah. That desire remained even after the Cougars and Utes moved on to the newly-formed Mountain West.
After a two-year stint in the Sun Belt, USU finally got the call.
"We're the new kid on the block," first-year coach Brent Guy said last month. "This is where Utah State wants to be."
Guy is a former Aggies assistant. If that doesn't sound impressive, toss in that he's also been on the staffs at Boise State and Arizona State.
He'll need to use every bit of his coaching acumen to turn around a 3-8 team. The good news is that two of those wins were against Idaho and New Mexico State -- the other Sun Belt refugees joining the WAC this fall.
Guy said the Aggies need to improve drastically at both running the ball and stopping opponents from doing so.
The offense returns three good-sized offensive line starters in center Brent DeLadurantey (6-foot-3, 315 pounds) and tackles Donald Penn (6-5, 315) and Justin Schlimgen (6-2, 300).
Quarterback Leon Jackson III is a threat passing and running. When he hands off, it will be to Marcus Crawford and freshman Ryan Bohm, neither of whom carried for the Aggies last season.
Kick returner Kevin Robinson was a freshman All-American, as chosen by the Football Writers Association of America. He was second in the nation with a 22.5 yards per punt return average and took three kicks to the opposing end zone.
Robinson also led USU in all the receiving categories with 44 catches, 602 yards and three touchdowns. Junior Tony Perryman is a threat as well. He caught 43 balls for 598 yards and two scores.
It's unlikely anyone on defense is going to bring back memories of Olsen, but end John Chick (6-4, 248) dominated a recent scrimmage. He's back at the play-making position after toiling at tackle as a sophomore and junior.
Linebacker Nate Frederick, cornerback Cornelius Lamb and safeties Joe Lindsay and Andre Bala are also listed among the returning starters. Bala was second on the team in tackles with 64 and Lamb led in interceptions with three.
Kicker Jarrod Jakubiak is back after missing just one of five field-goal tries and hitting all eight of his extra points. Justin Hamblin had the job going into fall camp, but Jakubiak won it back. Hamblin is the new punter.
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UTAH STATE AGGIES
3-8 (2-5 WAC)
Brent Guy (0-0)
||Middle Tenn. St.
||New Mexico State
||San Jose State
||at Fresno State
||at New Mexico State