What the Utah State Aggies (5-6, 3-4) will look like Friday afternoon in their regular-season finale against New Mexico (4-7, 2-3) is very much in doubt.
Per USU head coach Blake Anderson, the Aggies are very “banged up” after their 45-10 beatdown at the hands of the Boise State Broncos on Saturday night.
How beat up?
Some notable Aggies are currently questionable for Friday’s game, their status day-to-day, on a short week no less.
Among those whose statuses for Friday’s game are up in the air as of Monday afternoon are:
Quarterback Cooper Legas.
Quarterback McCae Hillstead.
Running back Davon Booth.
Running back Rahsul Faison.
Running back Robert Briggs.
Linebacker Anthony Switzer.
Safety Ike Larsen.
Wide receiver Micah Davis.
Anderson also noted that the Aggies are beat up along both the offensive and defensive lines, though he didn’t go so far as to name any specific players.
“We are pretty beat up, there’s no doubt,” Anderson said. “It was a physical game (against Boise State). It has been a physical run. We’re banged up and guys are playing through it the best they can.”
Given the short week, Anderson noted that the Aggies are limiting “collision” work, with collisions in practice on Tuesday, not Monday, and then “we’ll pull back off.”
“A lot of mental work this week. A lot of recovery,” Anderson said. “Trying to make sure that on Friday we got our best guys ready to go. There’s gonna be some questions as to whether or not guys are ready.”
“A lot of mental work this week. A lot of recovery. Trying to make sure that on Friday we got our best guys ready to go. There’s gonna be some questions as to whether or not guys are ready.” — Utah State coach Blake Anderson
With Legas (shoulder) and Hillstead (ankle) — both of whom were injured against Boise State — limited, Levi Williams is taking the majority of snaps at quarterback in practice this week.
“I’ve got to juggle that a little bit,” Anderson said. “Levi is going to get way more work than he has been getting.”
Anderson went on to praise Williams’ play late against Boise State, given the junior had hardly had any reps at quarterback recently, aside from drill work. Williams had been playing primarily on special teams, as the Aggies’ third-string quarterback.
In fact, he has only seen time in three games this season, against Idaho State, Air Force and Boise State.
Legas and/or Hillstead could still play Friday, Anderson noted, but that could very well be a game-time decision.
“We’ve got to have a plan to win with or without one or both of them,” he said.
Switzer noted that it has been a balance all season to build the strength and size needed to compete in the Mountain West Conference, while also maintaining physical health throughout what has been a long and difficult season.
“We try to have physical practices, but, you know, also take care of each other and take care of your body during practice. So, you know, it’s just trying to find the right balance throughout the week,” he said.
Still, Switzer appreciates the opportunity to just be playing football, after missing all of last season due to injury.
Aggies on the air
Utah State (5-6, 3-4)
at New Mexico (4-7, 2-5)
Friday, 1:30 p.m. MDT
TV: CBS Sports Network
Radio: Aggie Sports Network
“I’ve been in a situation where I wasn’t able to walk out on the field and had to miss the rest of the season,” he said. “So you know, I’m just blessed and thankful for the opportunity I have to play. Not everybody gets to go out there in front of thousands.”
The Aggies only have one more guaranteed opportunity to compete this season, with bowl eligibility riding on Friday’s outcome against the Lobos.
A win in that game could very well come down to how many players USU has available.
“A lot of question marks right now,” Anderson said. “We are gonna see how guys recover on a daily basis.”