LOGAN When the lowly Idaho Vandals make their visit to Romney Stadium on Saturday, the game may be seen as a chance for a new beginning for the few remaining supporters of the Utah State football team.
It also might be seen as the end.
After last weekend's 58-10 thrashing at the hands of Utah, the whispers coming out of Logan about coach Brent Guy's future grew a little louder.
With a career record of 6-32, Guy has not come close to turning the Aggies into a competitive football team. And after being outscored 151-51 in the first three games of the current season, the pressure is getting heavier.
Only 19,000 fans trickled into Romney Stadium on Saturday to see the loss. Several thousand of those were Utah fans, meaning only 10,000-12,000 Aggie fans attended the home opener against a No. 22-ranked traditional rival.
That there were so many empty seats might not come as a big surprise, though. Utah State hasn't treated its fans to a home victory since Oct. 7, 2006. The Aggies have won only three times in Logan since Guy arrived more than three seasons ago.
Those whispers about when Guy might lose his job became shouts in some corners of Aggie-nation. Post-game radio shows, Internet message boards and fan blogs alike were peppered with calls for Guy's dismissal.
"Utah State, I am willing to make a deal with you right here and now. If you fire Brent Guy RIGHT NOW I will do everything in my power to drive up from Salt Lake for the remaining home games and support our program," wrote one person in a comment following the loss. "I will do everything in my power to get as many of my family and friends to do the same. I will donate money to the BBSF. I'll do whatever I can to help you out. Keep Guy, and I am done with Utah State football until he is gone. I will not come to a single game until he is gone."
Guy acknowledged the fans and administration have reason to be angry.
"In my opinion, that was one of the worst performances that I have coached since I have been here," Guy said of the loss to Utah. "I take total responsibility for it. We could not get anything started on offense, and we were not able to stop them on defense. There were a couple of bright spots on (special) teams. That was it."
According to one USU player, some members of the team have already slipped into complacency and may no longer care.
"We don't know how to win," senior wide receiver Otis Nelson said. "People just don't compete period. If something goes bad, they don't want to fight back. They don't want to go through adversity, fight back."
After the debacle suffered in the Aggies' home-opener, Guy's emotions were evident.
"We're at ground zero now," he said. "This is one of the worst performances we've had since I've been here. And I take full responsibility for it. When players play as poorly as we did, well then, I kind of take it personal. And I told them that as far as I was concerned we were at ground zero. The towers have come down, and it's my job to figure out how to get them back on track."
And while comparing the most recent loss to the events of Sept. 11 may have been one giant case of hyperbole, it offers a glimpse into the desperation Guy is feeling.
But with the Vandals, which USU beat 24-19 in Moscow last year, coming to town, there is hope however faint it may be that Utah State can salvage something from this season. A win would be the Aggies' third straight WAC victory and buffer the pain associated with their lopsided losses to ranked opponents.A loss, however, may be the tipping point. With BYU up next on the schedule, an 0-5 start would be a near certainty and the view doesn't get better with a two-game road swing to deal with.
Brent Guy at Utah State
Overall record: 6-32
Home record: 3-13
Road record: 3-19
Non-conference record: 1-13
WAC record: 5-19
Points per game: 22.0
Points allowed: 36.3
Total home attendance: 188,999Average home attendance: 11,812
Aggies on the air
Utah State (0-3, 0-0) vs. Idaho (1-2, 0-0)
Saturday, 2 p.m.
TV: AltitudeRadio: 1320 AM, 610 AM