Weber State football spring game: 5 things to watch

Friday , April 13, 2018 - 4:59 PM

Weber State’s spring football camp will wrap up Saturday afternoon with a scrimmage as head coach Jay Hill and his team work to maintain the steady upward trajectory the program has seen in the last four seasons.

With questions surrounding the team and its ability to build on what was the most successful year in school history, here are five things to look for in the Wildcats’ spring game, which is set for 1 p.m. at Stewart Stadium and is free to the public.


MORE WSU SPRING FOOTBALL

> WSU embraces rain for spring practice at Ogden High
> QBs making progress; offense will change based on starter


QUARTERBACKS

Coach Hill and newly appointed offensive coordinator Dave Schramm have repeatedly said a starting quarterback will not be named until midway through fall camp, but that doesn’t mean a frontrunner can’t emerge before then.

Sophomore Braden Miles took the most reps with the starters throughout camp, but he is not as quick on his feet as senior Rathen Ricedorff or freshman Kaden Jenks. All three have thrown the ball with similar completion rates thus far, but Hill is waiting for one of them to take control of the offense.

Expect all three to see action Saturday afternoon. How each player reacts and handles the atmosphere of playing in full pads in uniform with fans watching could give a small glimpse into the race.

CORNERBACKS

The Wildcats lost an NFL talent in Taron Johnson at the cornerback position.

That’s old news.

Part of Weber State’s success from a season ago was keeping the ball out of the hands of opposing receivers, and the question is if the moving parts at the position will be enough to patch any potential holes.

Junior TyJuan Prince has switched from receiver to corner, redshirt freshman Eddie Heckard is leaving a positive impression, senior Parker Preator is making an impact after being injured for most of last season, and senior Keilan Benjamin is also making his presence known in the secondary.

With the position up for grabs, big plays — whether they be positive or negative — are sure to be had.

TIGHT ENDS

At tight end, no one in the Big Sky, maybe even throughout the FCS, had a better group than the Wildcats last year with Andrew Vollert and Tui Satuala leading the way.

Expected incoming junior college transfer Jacob Whitmer not actually joining the team — a player Hill called the next Vollert — was a blow to the position. But Schramm and Hill expect senior Raphael Longangu and redshirt freshman Justin Malone to step up and make the position strong again.

The shoes left by Vollert and Satuala are big ones to fill. While they may not reach the same level, Longangu and Malone can be solid options, but most likely won’t see the ball as much as their predecessors.

Or will they?

OFFENSIVE STYLE

Dave Schramm will go against the grain, having said he will rely heavily on the strength of the offensive line and talent of the running backs to establish a formidable run game in a pass-heavy Big Sky Conference.

With the pace of play increased and the playbook bigger than ever, how have Schramm’s players adjusted to the changes, and can they make it work?

The offensive playbook will narrow to complement the skill set of the starting quarterback, whoever that may be. How evident and significant will the change be in the offense based on who’s under center? Will they run similar sets with the coaching staff leaving the fine-tuning until fall?

There’s a lot in the air.

BALANCE

Defense has been the staple of Weber State football in the Jay Hill era, and thereby can be a measuring stick for an offense which has seen the most coaching changes this offseason.

An ideal outcome for such a scrimmage is a competitive balance and big plays from both sides. If any one side shows up the other, you’d expect it to be the defense.

Still, expectations within the team are higher than ever. Players on both sides will want to leave a lasting impression before summer hits, which should elevate execution.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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