The Aggies defense took a huge step forward last year. Gary Andersen acted as his own defense coordinator and he switched the defense to a 3-4. The Aggies went from a team that allowed 33.8 points and 428.8 yards per game, to a team that allowed 28.3 points and 368.0 yards per game. This improved performance allowed Utah State to go from a 4-8 to a 7-6 team and a bowl team.
The defense was led by two senior linebackers, Bobby Wagner and Kyle Gallagher. Wagner was a three time All WAC selection and a second round draft pick for the Seattle Seahawks. Gallagher was second on the team in tackles for two straight seasons and had a crucial interception in the New Mexico State game on the goal line.
Wagner had 147 tackles last season to lead the team in tackles, including 67 solo tackles. Gallagher had 100 tackles for the team and 45 solo tackles. What makes this stat even more glaring is the percentage of USU’s tackles these linebackers had. The team as a whole had a 994 tackles. Wagner was responsible for about 14.78% and Gallagher 10.06% of the teams tackles. That means the Aggies will be missing a combined 24.84% of their tackles from just these two players. They also combined for all but one of Utah State’s four interceptions last season.
Overall the Aggies are losing two very important cogs in their defense. Not only will the Aggies be missing the incredible stats these two linebackers put up but their leaderships as well. The Aggies will now have to rely on a couple familiar faces.
Travaris McMillian will be looked at to step up. McMillian recorded 45 tackles as a freshmen including 7.5 tackles for a loss. Bojay Filmoeatu a JC All-American had a strong season last year with 41 tackles, 11 TFL (second on the team) and 3 sacks. Look for these Aggies to have strong seasons this next year with the absence of Wagner and Gallagher.