USU football coach Matt Wells proclaims that nobody is a bigger Aggie fan than he is. That is understandable given that he was a starting quarterback for the blue and white from 1993-1996. But how does he rank as the head coach for this team? His predecessor Gary Andersen rebuilt the program from the bottom up before bolting for a higher salary. Matt has some big shoes to fill and so far his resume has created mixed reactions. Here are some of the pros and cons of having Matt Wells as the head coach of the Aggies:
Pro: He graduated from Utah State University and has heavily been involved in the football program since. This gives Aggies a greater hope that he will be loyal to the program even if he starts to receive other offers.
Con: Coaching at the school might give him a sense of entitlement. He might think that just because he graduated from the school and has done a lot that his job is safe no matter how the team performs.
Pro: He has had a lot of success in the past. In 2011, he guided true freshman Chuckie Keeton and the backup quarterbacks to Utah State’s first bowl eligible season since 1997. He was the quarterbacks coach that year and the offensive coordinator the following year when the Aggies won the Western Athletic Conference championship.
Con: The Aggies have decreased their results every year since Matt has been the head coach. They went from winning the Mountain Division in 2013 to almost winning it in 2014. They won six games last year and only three games this year. This type of performance would certainly merit some changes in any Fortune 500 company if they saw these results on a line graph.
Pro: Matt Wells has experience with college football. He has been on the coaching staff of six universities since he finished his career at USU.
Con: He doesn’t learn from his experience sometimes. He sticks to his guns which can be good but sometimes he is predictable when he repeatedly calls bubble screen plays. At the game vs. BYU on Saturday he called a statue of liberty play in the third quarter, then called the same play but put his receivers on the left side of the field instead of the right. This “flip play” strategy is something that a novice on a Madden video game might try but not a Division one football coach.
Pro: He is very vocal. He has done his part to put Utah State on the map as they played the first college football game ever streamed live on Twitter when they defeated Weber State in their season opener. He posts live videos of practices on social media as well. He also is willing to speak in the post game conference and have those conferences be posted on the Utah State football YouTube channel.
Con: He is a little defensive when the media questions him. He says that the media tries to paint a bad picture when the team is losing. He keeps stating that he wants Utah State to succeed and is trying but he doesn’t take the blame for the losses. He says that he is the biggest fan of the team when he should be trying to be the best motivator for the team as the head coach.
Final Thoughts: Matt Wells isn’t done yet. He is a blue collar guy and helped the Aggies work their way to bowl appearances after a drought that lasted over a decade. He should be given a chance to improve the team the next year and the university should make their decision after this. If Wells were fired, the university would still have to pay out the remainder of Matt’s contract so the school should only do so if they find another guy who they believe can lead the program in the right direction. Matt Wells should keep being himself but he should implement some of Gary Andersen’s leadership qualities to rally his team. Gary always told his team and the fans that players win games and coaches just coach. Put the spotlight on the players and give them some positive motivation. This will lead to better recruiting and results. Matt did well with Gary’s recruits. Now most of those have graduated and it’s time for him to show what he can do with the players he is recruiting.
It’s time for Aggie fans to start dropping pennies down their wishing “wells” and hope that Matt Wells can lead the Aggie Blue and Fighting White back to victory next year.