Photo by Clint Allen
LOGAN – An historic 2021 year for the Utah State Aggie offense was something to behold:
- 41 touchdown passes (compared to 32 in 2018)
- 4,248 passing yards (compared to 3,825 in 2018)
- 8.45 passing yards per attempt (compared to 6.84 in 2018)
- 334 first downs (compared to 310 in 2013)
- 180 passing first downs (compared to 164 in 2018)
- Three receivers with 10 or more touchdown receptions
Not too shabby with a new offensive staff in the house led by Offensive Coordinator Anthony Tucker, formerly of University of Central Florida. Coach Tucker, who is also the Quarterbacks Coach, saw his QB1 Logan Bonner set five school records including:
- 3,628 passing yards
- 36 touchdown passes
- 4 touchdown passes in three straight games
- 4 touchdown passes in six games in a season
- 2.57 touchdown passes per game.
Bonner also tied the school record for passing touchdowns in a game (5) this year, which has now been done 14 times by six different quarterbacks.
But what has Tucker really excited is who is behind Logan Bonner. Coach Tucker recently joined The Full Court Press on 106.9 The FAN to talk about what has him so excited. Cooper Legas, who came in for the injured Bonner during the Jimmy Kimmel LA Bowl, on his first play from scrimmage of not just the bowl game but of his Aggie career checked off a run then fired a 62 yard bomb to Deven Thompkins for a TD. Tucker said Legas has picked up where he left off and has had a impressive spring camp.
Levi Williams is a transfer from Wyoming, in what seemed to be a player swap between the two teams as the Cowboys snagged former Aggie QB Andrew Peasley. Tucker has been impressed with Williams, too.
“I love Andrew and we didn’t want him to leave but we feel really fortunate to have Levi and that he wanted to be here,” Tucker said.
When asked of the similarity between Peasley and Williams, Tucker said, “they both have really good legs, athleticism. The thing about Levi is he is 6’5″ 230 (pounds), and he has an enormous arm. Levi’s arm is ridiculous, he can make every single throw on the field.”
Tucker said the one thing for Levi is learning the system which is different from Wyoming in many ways.
Obviously, the biggest leak in the offense was on the offensive line, most of that issue was due to injuries and lack of depth. But Coach Tucker feels better at this point than he did last year, with four of the five starters back, and five or six other guys who have started games.
“We are not changing the system, we’re building upon last year. We feel better about what we have in the room.”
Another question coming into this season will be about the Wide Receiver department. Last year, Derek Wright came into his own, when before hardly anyone knew about him. Brandon Bowling complimented the outside hashes with his sharp routes and sticky hands. And of course there was Deven Thompkins, who set a few school records including 102 receptions for 1,704 yards, and
five games with at least 170 receiving yards. His six consecutive games of 100 yards receiving tied Kevin Curtis for the most in school history, and the nine games overall in the season tied him at the top with Nakia Jenkins.
But Tucker is impressed with the 2022 group which includes Kyle Van Leeuwen who will see plenty of snaps in the slot, and two transfers who have impressed early in the spring. Brian Cobbs, a transfer from Maryland, and Xavier Williams, formerly of Alabama.
“I feel good about the room,” Tucker explained. “Obviously, losing three of the best guys in the conference you have to answer for that and I feel like we did really good job of that, and brought some guys here who have made an immediate impact in the film room.
“We’re kind of in the same place as we were last year, (bringing in) three guys and installing an offense that three guys have never run the offense before. The development and the detail of what we are doing is an ongoing thing.”
The running back department looks familiar with the return of Calvin Tyler Jr. and Johnathan Gentry. There is the loss of Elelyon Noa, which does hurt but the experience of Seniors Cooper Jones and Pailate Makakona will help the depth.
Finally, are the tight ends in what Coach Tucker described as “one of the most important positions of our offense.”
Tucker said that they have multiple guys who can play different styles whether in the run game or using another one’s skill set in the passing game. Tucker said he’s seen some progress from a couple who Aggie Nation will like seeing on the field.
Utah State will get one last chance to showcase their offense on Saturday, April 23rd in the team’s final scrimmage of Spring Ball on Merlin Olsen Field. The Blue and White Scrimmage is set for 1 p.m.
You can hear the full interview with coach Anthony Tucker when he appeared on the Full Court Press on 106.9 The FAN here: