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Two weeks before students returned to campus for class, the Weber State University football team returned to the field in preparation for the upcoming season.
The Wildcats will take to the field in September after a long offseason, which saw former head coach John L. Smith depart without ever coaching a game. Jody Sears was named as WSU’s new coach, and recently opened fall practices.
WSU Athletic Director Jerry Bovee said he thinks Sears will do well in his first season as head coach.
“Since Jody has been here, he has stepped in and has been a great leader for our program,” Bovee said. “I’m confident that, with his experience, we will continue the stability of our program.”
The Wildcats recently played their first scrimmage game of the Fall Camp. Senior quarterback Mike Hoke went 15-27 and threw for 174 yards. Hoke missed all of the spring practice after undergoing surgery on his shoulder.
WSU will have 14 starters returning to the team and 10 players who earned Big Sky All-Conference honors last season. Last season, six Wildcats also earned Honorable Mention to the Big Sky All-Conference team.
Last season, WSU went 5-6 in regular season play and 5-3 in conference games. The team is picked to finish sixth in the coaches’ poll and seventh in the media poll in Sears’ first season as head coach.
Following the first scrimmage of fall practice, Sears said he saw some good things, but that the team has a lot of room to improve before the start of the season.
“For the most part, I was pleased with our effort and performance today,” Sears said. “I thought both sides of the ball showed some progress and made some key plays. We got some good things done, but still have a lot of work to do.”
Three Wildcats were unable to take part in the scrimmage due to injuries. Running back C.J. Tuckett sat out with a knee injury, while fellow running back Josh Booker missed the scrimmage with a concussion. Defensive end Trevor Pletcher also missed due to an ankle injury.
Also, two Wildcats received preseason honors. Senior offensive lineman Tytan Timeteo and sophomore full back Tevia Tolutau were named to the Big Sky preseason All-Conference team, which was selected by members of the media.
Timeteo started all 11 games last season and was named to the second-team All Conference. Tolutau also started every game last season as a true freshman. He earned first-team All-Big Sky honors last year and is the only returning Wildcat who earned first-team honors last season. He was also the only freshman in the conference who was named to the first team last season.
The Wildcats will open their season on Sept. 1 in California, where they will take on the California State University, Fresno Bulldogs. The following week, WSU will take on Brigham Young University in Provo, then will return to Stewart Stadium on Sept. 15 to face McNeese State University.