LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – It has been a tumultuous ten days for the Utah State football team.
First, head coach Gary Andersen was fired last Saturday and replaced with interim head coach Frank Maile. Then after Utah State’s fourth straight loss to open the season, starting quarterback Jason Shelley was dismissed from the team for an unspecified violation of team rules.
Now, the Aggies are turning to redshirt freshman and former Orem High star Cooper Legas at quarterback, as Utah State plays at Wyoming Thursday night.
“Cooper is a winner, man,” Maile. “He’s a competitor and that’s one of the main reasons we recruited Cooper in the first place is that he was a champion at three different sports. Not only did he lead his football team as a team captain to a state title in high school, he was a wrestling champion and he was a javelin throwing champion, and so Cooper is a winner. At the end of the day and we look forward to his leadership and his competitiveness to lead the Aggies to a “W.”
Many people expected Andrew Peasley to take over the starting job after Shelley left. Peasley played in the first three games of the season, completing 6 of 16 passes for 29 yards.
But Maile decided to go with Legas, who has yet to throw a pass in college.
“Cooper is a smart kid, a younger kid, but he’s definitely smart and he works hard,” said wide receiver and return specialist Savon Scarver. “When he first got here in the summer and I was throwing with him, he’s got a real strong arm and he can zip the ball on the money every time. So we’ve got him working hard in practice, he’s watching film and he’s going to be ready to go for sure.”
That will be a tough task for Legas, a freshman trying to lead a young team. But the Aggies need something to get them going.
“For us the goal is the same,” said Maile, “It’s to win, by any means necessary, and if we’ve got to switch up personnel or simplify things or add things, you’ve got to do whatever it takes to win football games.”
“We are all hunters, we are all hungry,” said Scarver, who extended his school record with his sixth kick return for a touchdown against Fresno State. “We are all still hunting, and I can’t say enough about how hard we work. So we’re just going to keep working hard, that’s all we can do.”
While the Aggies are mired in last place in the Mountain West Conference, they still have four games left on the schedule, and want to finish strong.
“It’s been a very challenging season, not what we thought we would run in to,” said freshman punter Stephen Kotsanlee. “But it’s just a matter of keeping going forward. That’s what the mindset is, just keep going, no matter what. We’ve dealt with so much stuff so far, just bring it on. We’re going to keep going, keep moving forward. We’ve got four games to go, and we might as well as we say have a crack at it and give 110%.”
Utah State and Wyoming kick off at 7:00 p.m. Thursday night in Laramie.