Anderson Doesn’t Sound Optimistic About Max Alford Injury

Sep 2, 2023, 4:05 PM

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LOGAN, Utah – Any goals sophomore Aggie linebacker Max Alford had to improve on last season’s performance may have ended before they ever got off the ground.

Alford left Saturday’s season opener following the first play from scrimmage and did not return.

RELATED: Utah State Comes Up Short At Iowa In Season Opener

“I think the most significant, potentially long-term injury would be Max,” head coach Blake Anderson said of Alford postgame. “He clearly could not come back today.”

“I hate it for Max because he’s a huge contributor and a great leader,” Anderson would later say.

Gavin Barthiel and Bronson Olevao Jr. filled in admirably after Alford left. It was the first appearance as an Aggie for both players and the first Division I game for Olevao Jr.

Barthiel finished with three tackles and an important fourth-down sack. Olevao Jr. made three tackles with two coming behind the line of scrimmage.

RELATED: Utah State Linebackers Ready To Work In 2023

About Max Alford

With ‘potential through the roof’ according to USU linebackers coach Mike Zuckerman, the 6’1, 235-pound Alford was rated as a three-star recruit by ESPN.com at Park City High School.

Despite never playing a snap on the defensive side of the ball, Alford was forced into action when Tafisi went down with an injury. He went on to play in all 13 games last season, starting four. Alford finished with 40 tackles, including earning MW Freshman of the Week honors after totaling eight tackles in USU’s win over New Mexico.

“He’s learning how to be a defensive player,” Zuckerman commented. “He wants to know everything. He’s a guy who’s gotten better every single day of camp and I’m excited to see what he can do on the field this year.”

RELATED: Aggie Notes: Utah State Wide Receivers Face Uphill Battle In 2023

Alford earned Academic All-Mountain West recognition in 2022.

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Utah State returns to Logan where they will open the home portion of the 2023 season with a matchup against the Idaho State Bengals on Saturday, September 9. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT). USU is 18-2 all-time against the Bengals.

Utah State football games are found on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard and former Aggie quarterback Kevin White (1988-89) on the call.

KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics can be found here. 

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Anderson Doesn’t Sound Optimistic About Max Alford Injury