OGDEN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – After making the FCS playoffs five straight years, Weber State went 6-5 last in 2021 and was left out of the postseason party.

Maybe it was the fact the Wildcats had to play a spring and fall season, and the team just wore out down the stretch. But missing the playoffs has fueled the team all through training camp.

“Last year was a tough season with the spring and fall seasons,” said wide receiver Ty MacPherson. “We left some things out there. But I’m just excited to kind of have a fresh start.”

“As weird as last year was and maybe not reaching the pinnacle of what we thought that team could have been, I do see a fire in these guys,” said head coach Jay Hill. “I see a close nit bond that they want to get back to their winning ways.”

Weber State is ranked 20th in the preseason poll, and with six Big Sky teams ranked, it’s going to be another tough grind. But with Josh Davis healthy again and running the ball, along with returning starting quarterback Bronson Barron, the Wildcats offense could be dynamic.

“It’s just the more games you play, the more comfortable you get, especially at the quarterback position,” Barron said. “If you get more experience, you get the opportunity to see more defenses and different looks. So, with the maturity, I feel like I’m getting to where I want to be.”

“He continues to throw it well,” Hill said. “That’s a strength of his is he throws the ball well. I think he’s gotten much better with his pocket presence. Knowing when to pull the down and run has gotten better. Timing and accuracy is only going to continue to improve.”

Rashid Shaheed, one of the greatest receivers in school history is gone, but MacPherson is back, leading a young and talented receiving corps.”

“Rashid is a tough loss,” MacPherson said. “Rashid is as good as they come. It was cool to play alongside him for a couple years and learn from him. Now, we just pick up the slack and get those young guys rolling.”

Because of all the success the Wildcats have had over the recent years, the bar has been set high at Weber State. But Hill feels this team is ready to get the program back where it belongs — in the FCS playoffs.

“The reality is how we handle adversity, how we handle success as we come into this thing, how we handle overcome injuries that will occur,” Hill said. “That’s going to be the telltale sign as to whether we’re ready to win another championship.”

Weber State kicks off the 2022 season Thursday at home against Western Oregon.