Keeton’s mentor on Aggies a former Wildcat

Sep 13 2013 - 3:11pm

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LOGAN -- The architect behind the offense of Weber State's best team in recent memory has fond memories of his time in purple even as he prepares to unleash a Heisman candidate quarterback against the Wildcats.

Kevin McGiven was WSU's offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach from 2006-08, culminating in the 'Cats' first share of a Big Sky title in over 40 years and a trip to the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs in '08.

McGiven will be calling the shots for Utah State's offense and directing dual threat quarterback Chuckie Keeton on Saturday as the Aggies (1-1) face the Wildcats (1-1) at 6 p.m. at Romney Stadium.

"It was a really good experience and a fun time in my career," McGiven says of his three years at WSU. "The last year I was there we had a bunch of success. It was a lot of fun and very gratifying to see that program grow over the three years I was there to where we got to the point where we won the Big Sky and went to the playoffs. (There were) a lot of good kids and nothing but fond memories of Weber State."

McGiven wasn't the only current Aggie staffer to come from Weber State, or even the only Kevin. Linebackers coach Kevin Clune was the defensive coordinator from 2005-08.

When former Utah State coach Gary Andersen built his staff in Logan in 2009, he brought in McGiven, Clune and defensive line coach Chad Kauha'aha'a from Ron McBride's Weber State staff, as well as O-line coach Alex Gerke, who had recently been at WSU.

McBride's status as the former head coach of the Utes and Wildcats and his ties to the staffs of Utah State and even BYU make him the godfather of college football in the state of Utah.

"It was a great experience working for him," McGiven said. "I learned a lot about the game, learned a lot about life.

"I've got nothing but love and respect for Ron McBride. Not just what he's done for me, but what he's done for football in the state. He's got coaches that have coached under him all over the state and all over the country and has had a very positive impact on all of our lives."

Though McGiven came in with Andersen's first staff in 2009, he later went to Memphis for two seasons and was the offensive coordinator at Montana State last season.

What happened at USU while McGiven was gone was impressive -- Andersen led the Aggies to their best season in school history last year before taking the head coaching job at Wisconsin and Utah State moved from a crumbling Western Athletic Conference to the Mountain West.

Matt Wells, the offensive during USU's 11-2 WAC championship season, was promoted to head coach, making way for McGiven's return.

"I missed out on some of the dirty work of getting these guys to where they are now, but obviously, there's a lot of talent and a lot of experience now," McGiven said. "It's a very different feel. There's a lot of excitement in the community."

A lot of that excitement is due to one Chuckie Keeton, a dangerous quarterback who's on the Heisman watch list and a host of other preseason awards lists.

In Utah State's first-ever MWC game, he completed 32 of 40 passes for five touchdowns and rushed for 77 yards in a 52-20 dismantling of Air Force; after two games, he's averaging 418 yards of total offense.

In other words, he's a nightmare for a Weber State defense that allowed Utah quarterback Travis Wilson to throw for 264 yards and three touchdowns and run for 93 yards and another two scores in just one half of a 70-7 loss last week.

It was the Wildcats' second-worst loss in school history. The task doesn't get any easier this week as FCS Weber State faces its second straight in-state FBS foe, even if the guy calling the offense against them checks for their scores and roots for them in every other week this season.

Contact sports writer Roy Burton at 801-625-4263, rburton@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @RoyBurton.

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