We'll learn a lot about the 2008 Aggies this week

Year Four of the Brent Guy experiment at Utah State officially kicks off Saturday at UNLV. But will one game be enough to learn anything about that experiment — anything more than we’re learned in the previous three years?

It should.

Whenever a new coach is hired at a school with a losing football program, they almost without fail talk about rebuilding and how it takes times — three or four years, even — to remake a team into the mold the new coach believes will eventually be a winner.

USU’s Guy is no exception to that unofficial rule of coachspeak.

But with three years under his belt, it’s time to see exactly how far the Aggies have come in reaching the ideal Guy set for himself and the team when he replaced Mick Dennehy after the 2004 season.

So far, it hasn’t been pretty. But there have been excuses for the losses. But that certainly doesn’t do anything to erase those loses or the feeling of discontent Aggie fans feel.

Still, Guy thinks this is the year it all comes together. Prediciting a winning season is a stretch for anyone – USU’s schedule includes Utah, BYU, Oregon and a diet of tough WAC games against Hawaii, Boise State and Fresno State.

But Saturday, when the Aggies visit Las Vegas, there may be reason to believe in Guy’s gameplan. Newfound depth — even if it is a result of 28 redshirt freshmen on the roster — has given USU more energy in preseason practice than anyone in Logan can remember over the past three years. There’s actual competition for playing time now whereas that was hardly the case the first two years of Guy’s time as an Aggie.

What remains to be seen, though, is if the youngsters are actually better than the upperclassmen they are battling against.

Another thing going for the Aggies is confidence. With two road wins to close out the season, USU — for a change — has something to feel good about. UNLV, on the other hand, has lost eight in a row and hasn’t won since shocking Utah 27-0 early last season.

The Aggies have a little payback in mind after the Rebels came to Logan to open 2007 and took a fourth-quarter lead away from USU for a 23-16 win.

Believing they’ve figured out how to actually hold onto a lead late in the game, the Aggies are eager to make it nine losses in a row for UNLV.

If that happens, Guy’s plan might actually be working.

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