Utah State coach Gary Andersen likes Florida. And not just because of the beaches and Disney World.
The Aggie coach is finding some overlooked talent in the talent-rich football state.
Case in point: Rashard Stewart. The true freshman was brought to USU as a cornerback and Andersen, a defensive coach at heart, loved the skills Stewart gave the defensive backfield. That’s what made moving the speedy youngster to offense so hard to do.
“We moved Rashard over three days ago, it was something that was very difficult for me to do. He is a great young corner, but we decided to move him over to offense and let him make some plays,” Andersen said after Saturday’s scrimmage. “That has been a work in progress the last two days and we will wait and see what comes of it.”
Stewart’s move to offense has been a little longer than a two or three day process. More than a week ago, Stewart was participating in a handful of plays at the slot receiver position. He’s also been seeing a lot of action on special teams where he is returning kicks.
But he is now taking the spot vacated by the dynamic Stanley Morrison after the veteran receiver suffered a nasty foot injury that will cost him the season.
“We will reevaluate our corner situation and make sure we have the corners we need to compete. He is dynamic, and we would like to see him step up and fill in where Stanley Morrison left off,” Andersen said. “We like to say that he has ‘juice’ after he catches a ball. I’m not sure if I could catch him after ten minutes in a phone booth. He is a fast kid if he can get out and run and he is a great kid.”
Typically freshmen aren’t expected to stand up and be vocal leaders — juniors and seniors get to do that. But Stewart isn’t waiting.
“In our meeting last night no one asked him to stand up and say anything, but he stood up and let some of his thoughts known to his team,” Andersen said. “That says a lot about a young man.”