If you know of a family with divided loyalties in the battle between the Utah Utes and USU football teams in the “Battle of the Brothers” please write Twalch@desnews.com
I’ve been asked the following question several times: Why should I believe the Aggies under Gary Andersen will be any different the Aggies under Dave Arslanian, Mick Dennehy or Brent Guy?
And that’s a really good question.
Expections always get a pretty nice boost when there’s a change in the coaching office. When Guy was hired to replace Dennehy, Aggie fans hoped his no-nonsense defensive mind would toughen USU up and the results would improve.
They had similar thoughts when Dennehy, formerly the head coach and high-powered I-AA juggernaut Montana, arrived giving Aggie fans dreams of an offensive explosion.
Of course, Guy went on to have the worst winning percentage of any head coach in Utah State history and Dennehy was forced to deal with itsy-bitsy budgets and the near-death penalty that was playing as an Independent and/or a member of the Sun Belt Conference.
Dennehy wasn’t given the tools to get it done and Guy simply couldn’t win games.
With a shed full of better tools, Andersen figures to be much more prepared to see wins in Logan than his predecessors.
There is, of course, no guarantee the former University of Utah defensive coordinator will be able to turn the fancy new locker room, office and training complex into more wins. No guarantee the Aggies will win more games with a bigger budget or more experienced assistant coaches, either.
And there’s no guarantee Utah State will sell more than 15,000 tickets per game.
No, the only thing that will make Andersen’s tenure at Utah State any better, or different, than those who came before is if he’s able to win more than four or five games per season.
It won’t be easy — especially not this season with a 12-game schedule featuring trips to BYU, Utah, Texas A&M, Fresno State and Hawaii. Throw in a visit by Boise State and Utah State has a tough task in front of it.
Being patient is something Aggie fans have been asked to do coach after coach. From Charlie Weatherbie to John L. Smith. From Mick Dennehy to Brent Guy.
No Aggie coach has won his first game at Utah State since Phil Krueger beat Weber State 10-3 in 1973. Krueger, coincidentally, is the last coach to leave Utah State with an overall winning record.
But being patient is, indeed, what is needed — again.
Andersen may not be the answer to USU’s football problems — but he might be.
Until an Aggie football coach has a manageable schedule, or a breakthrough win or two, things won’t change quickly.
The schedule is set for 2009 — no way to get around the tough opponents.
So, if Andersen wants to convince USU’s fans, and detractors, that this time it really is different without another ‘rebuilding’ year, he’ll have to beat someone the Aggies aren’t supposed to beat.
First up: the BCS-Busting Utes.
Will it really be different, though?