Due to time constraints, parts 2 and 3 of this article series will be combined, as will parts 4 and 5. So, without further ado, let’s look at other two other looming questions surrounding this year’s Aggie squad.
- How different will the Aggie offensive scheme be under new coordinator Matt Wells?
Ever since Dave Baldwin left the Aggies to take his bubble screen-heavy offense to Fort Collins, numerous reports have emerged that the Aggie offense will be revamped and more pass-happy. But will this really be the case?
Though Baldwin did take a lot of flak for his conservative play-calling – especially in the fourth quarter – he did guide the offense to some pretty impressive production. The Aggies finished 2011, 6th in the nation in rushing offense and 20th in total offense. Rushing numbers were the highest Utah State’s seen in half a century. But are those outputs a testament to Baldwin’s coaching, philosophy and play-calling? Or did it speak more to the caliber of players executing the plays?
Throughout spring and fall camp, there doesn’t seem to be a huge difference in the offensive look. Many of the same formations remain, and some plays have stayed in house over the off-season. The new offense is designed to be more of a true spread attack as opposed to last year. I take that to mean that there will be more spread looks throughout the game. The Aggies did use spread formations during last year, but apparently not to the degree it will be used this year.
I expect the offense to look very similar to 2011’s version, but with just an increased number of pass plays and spread looks. How similar will it be? How will the production compare? We’ll get an idea of where the offense is headed starting on Thursday, and probably a much better look when the defensive-minded Utes roll into Logan, September 7th.
2. Will the Aggies remember how to finish games?
After the Aggies lost three heart-breakers in their first four games, Coach Gary Andersen found himself searching everywhere for answers. He delved into the coaching community to get a feel for what he could do better. Andersen ended up contacting legendary former Nebraska Cornhusker coach, Tom Osborne. When Coach Andersen petitioned Osborne for advice, Tom said he didn’t know the reason behind the losses or how to remedy the problem, but explained that he believed everything would even out in the end. If there ever was a truer football prophecy, I’d like to see it.
Just as the team could not seem to hold on to a fourth quarter lead during the first half of the season to save their lives, they could not be denied at the end of games during the second half of their schedule. Five consecutive come-from-behind wins capped off a thrilling, heart attack-inducing 2012 campaign. But just as had been the case at the beginning of the season, the Aggies lost their mojo and fell to Ohio in the waning seconds of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
So, what team will show up this year? The clutch, never say die Aggies? Or the bizarro-clutch Aggies? And when will we see how the team fares under adversity in the fourth quarter? It all starts less than 24 hours from now!