Aggies are ready for Monroe

?When Utah State athletic officials began planning a 10-year reunion of the only bowl-winning football team in school history, the coach of that squad figured to be available this weekend, considering he was just playing golf and collecting government checks.

Utah State Football: Weatherbie making return appearance By Kurt Kragthorpe The Salt Lake Tribune LA.-MONROE at UTAH STATE Saturday, 6 p.m. When Utah State athletic officials began planning a 10-year reunion of the only bowl-winning football team in school history, the coach of that squad figured to be available this weekend, considering he was just playing golf and collecting government checks. Charlie Weatherbie is coming to Logan, all right, but he will be working Saturday night. Less than five months after being named Louisiana-Monroe's coach, Weatherbie and his 0-4 Indians will provide the competition in USU's inaugural Sun Belt Conference game at Romney Stadium, where he once climbed a flag pole to incite the student section. "It's going to be great," Weatherbie said. "I had some great memories in that stadium." Like many schools that play money-making games early in the year, USU is known for bouncing back in the second half of the season. Weatherbie's 1993 team is the all-time best example, starting 1-5 before closing with six straight victories, winning the Big West Conference championship and beating Ball State in the Las Vegas Bowl. "I've talked to our team about that team, and what that team did is they bought into persevering," Weatherbie said this week. "They just knew if we kept fighting, we would be successful." The closing flurry included a 58-56 defeat of Brigham Young in Logan -- USU's most recent win over the Cougars -- and four Big West victories by a total of 24 points. Those Aggies featured seven all-conference players, including quarterback Anthony Calvillo, who remains a star in the Canadian Football League. Weatherbie's program dipped to a 3-8 record the next year, then he departed for Navy, where he also won a bowl game before running aground. Fired during the 2001 season, he's still being paid by the Academy, explaining why ULM is paying him only $15,000 this season -- the maximum allowed by his 10-year contract with Navy, which runs through 2006. ULM's modest investment is not paying off yet. The Indians are 0-4, with losses to LSU, Mississippi and two Division I-AA schools. ULM had to invent a way to lose to Northwestern State (14-10) last week, fumbling on first down with 1:31 remaining, giving up a 23-yard completion on a third-and-22 play and then allowing a 1-yard touchdown pass with three seconds left. "We made some mistakes that cost us, there's no doubt," Weatherbie said. The 48-year-old Weatherbie is ULM's third head coach in 12 months. Mike Collins took over when Bobby Keasler resigned after three games last season. He rejuvenated the Indians with three victories, including a 51-48, double-overtime defeat of USU. Collins was awarded the permanent job, only to resign in April after crashing his car into a house (he was later cleared of drunken-driving charges). Weatherbie was hired after spring practice, and he left the offensive system in place under coordinator Tommy Condell. But the Indians have struggled to score, partly because quarterback Steven Jyles injured his throwing hand. Jyles is expected to be closer to full strength this week.

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