SPOKANE, Wash. (ABC4 Sports) – Coming off its best season in school history, the Weber State football team was picked to finish in second place behind Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference preseason media poll.
This is Weber State’s highest preseason pick in nine years, but head coach Jay Hill just wants to build on what his team accomplished last year.
“I’ve never put much stock into the rankings whether we were ranked low preseason or high preseason,” Hill said at Big Sky Media Day in Spokane. “I think it’s fun for the fans, fun for the media. Bottom line, when we kick off, we’re going to have to tackle, block and do all the things that great football teams do.”
Weber State did those things really well last year, winning a school-record 11 games and advancing to the semifinals of the FCS playoffs for the first time ever. With the bar raised that high, can the Wildcats be even better this coming season?
“That’s going to be critical,” said Hill, who signed a a 2-year extension in the off-season that will keep him at Weber State through 2023. “Getting our players to buy into what got us to where we were last year, and then improving on a couple of things. If we can build on those couple things, then we’ve got a chance to be really really good.”
Wildcats leading rusher, Treshawn Garrett returns, but the biggest question will be at quarterback. Stefan Cantwell, who totaled over 3500 yards of total offense last season graduated, and only Braden Miles has thrown a pass in game for the Wildcats. So whoever Hill decides to lead the offense will be inexperienced.
“We have three or four guys that I really believe we can win with,” Hill said. “I’m excited to see their progression in spring ball and what they’ve done this summer in the film study that they’ve been doing. I’m waiting to see how the blood, the sweat, the tears, the dedication shows in fall camp.”
The most ominous game on the schedule is the first, at Utah on August 31, where Hill played and coached for 13 years.
“Probably my biggest mentor in the game is Coach Whittingham and Coach Andersen who is now on that staff,” Hill said. “So, do go back there and play against those particular coaches and some players that I recruited. There is so much on that game and it’s going to be such a fun atmosphere.”