Keeton, one of the top quarterbacks in the nation, is not out for the season but the Aggies coaches are resting him this week in hope he will be ready for the rivalry game with BYU on Friday, Oct. 3. He did not play in the second half of the 36-24 victory over Wake Forest.
Darell Garretson, who filled in for an injured Keeton last season, has been named the starter.
“There are three factors that I see,’’ said Utah State coach Matt Wells. “Number one is the confidence he has in himself. Two, the confidence the players have in him. And three, I know how to game-plan a little bit better for him. It was a little bit of a wildcard last year going into some of those games. We have a lot of confidence in him. That locker room won't flinch, they believe in him. Chuckie (Keeton) can't go this week, so he's the next best quarterback in this program.
“Darell has a tremendous amount of confidence, as do his teammates. We're very confident in him in his talents and leadership abilities. Just like last year, we'll have to play very well on defense. We're going to have to find ways to be difference-makers on special teams, and the guys on offense are going to have to play a little bit better around him. The recipe is the same; the ingredients are just a little different.
“I feel good about Darell; he's in a good spot. Chuckie is in a good spot, this team is in a good spot and we're going to play very well this week. We're going to have a good week of practice and I'm excited to see our performance on Saturday night. The opportunity to go in and play them is one that we're all looking forward to."
Against Wake, Garretson was 11 of 16 passing for 121 yards with a touchdown and an interception. He also had 2 rushes for 2 yards. The Aggies scored 7 points in the second half. Last season in the final 8 games, he was 126 of 209 for 1,446 yards, 10 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. He was sacked 20 times. He had a long run of 22 yards and led the Aggies to victories over Colorado State and Northern Illinois while going 6-1 as a starter.
"Darell brings a lot to the table,” said senior wide receiver Ronnie Butler. “His whole demeanor, even when he was a backup, he's always pushing for the offense to do well. Last year, we saw how we faced adversity and he came in, he stepped into the picture and he helped us out big time. We won six games. I feel like Darell on Saturday was nothing new. He got the job done."
"He's been practicing with the ones a lot this fall camp. He's improved; he's smarter. You can tell he's smarter and he's more precise. Coaches like that. As receivers, he'll tell us when we're getting the ball. He'll tell us when he's coming to us, `be ready,' and we'll make a play."
Sophomore safety Devin Centers was a high school teammate of Garretson at high school in Chandler, Ariz.
"Darell is four days older than me, actually,’’ he said. “I have faith in him doing everything. We go back to high school, and he's always had a great work ethic. Every Saturday over summers we would go and just run hills together. We would work on routes and anything he wanted to work on to make sure we were on top of everything. I have faith in him. I know he'll step up for us, just like he did last year."
Utah State Turns Again to Garretson
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