FOOTBALL: Five Things We're Excited to See This Spring
(Photo courtesy of Weber State Athletics)
It’s finally here.
After the longest offseason of our lifetimes, the Weber State Wildcat football team will finally have the chance to defend its conference title and go where no Wildcat team has gone before: Frisco, Texas.
Here are five of the things that we are most excited to see this season:
The team hasn’t yet announced a starting quarterback, but there is almost a tangible excitement and curiosity in the air surrounding the position among Wildcat fans. We know that Randall Johnson brings experience, mobility, a big arm and FBS experience with him, so he might have the edge over Bronson Barron, who relatively recently returned home from his mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. The consensus among the Weber State faithful seems to be that the ‘Cats are a quarterback away from being considered a serious national contender. Will this year’s starter give the Wildcats a boost and push them over the edge? While we can’t answer that, we can definitely confirm that there is a lot of optimism in Ogden.
If you’re curious as to which defense led the Big Sky in 2019 in sacks, interceptions, defensive scoring and yards per game, well, that would be the Weber State Wildcats.
This defense is stifling.
Although there are a few defensive stars from the ’19 team that have moved on, the ‘Cats have reloaded. They’ll be anchored by the “Goon Squad” at defensive tackle with Jared Schiess and company. A lot of people even believe that that group is as deep and talented as most group of five schools in FBS. On the edge, the “Greek Freak,” George Tarlas, who had nine sacks in 2019, will wreak havoc on the offensive backfield.
At linebacker, two of the team’s leading tacklers in captain Conner Mortensen and Noah Vaea are returning and ready to continue their dominance.
Then there is the secondary. They led the entire Big Sky conference in interceptions in 2019, and they’re returning everyone. Eddie Heckard, who very well might have a future playing on Sundays, will lock down one side, and Marque Collins, who has the school record for pass break ups in one game (five vs. UNI in 2019), will shut down the other. The safeties, Preston Smith, JaKobe Harris and Desmond Williams are all fantastic at what they do, as well.
This defense is loaded and they’re ready to hit someone other than their own teammates.
An Undefeated Regular Season
We firmly believe that Weber State has the best team in the Big Sky conference, and they’ve been given a schedule that, on paper, appears to be on the weaker end of the spectrum. With the talent, coaching and schedule, will this Wildcat team go undeated? The Weber State Weekly crew is on record expressing their confidence in this team and what they can do with their setup for the 2021 Spring football season. 6-0. Book it.
A Trip to Frisco
2017: Quarterfinals. 2018: Quarterfinals. 2019: Semifinals. 2021: ?
When you look at the composition of this team, the culture surrounding the program and consider how close they’ve been in the past, it shouldn’t be too difficult to imagine these guys squadding up and flying into Dallas-Fort Worth in May of this year. In conversations that Weber State Weekly has had with other FCS fans and journalists throughout the country, it’s apparent that Wildcat fans aren’t the only ones drinking the purple Kool-Aid. At the time of writing, we believe that this team has what it takes to make it to uncharted territory and reach the national championship game.
More than anything, the Weber State Weekly crew, like many of you, are just looking forward to seeing these guys in action again. They give us something to talk about around the water cooler. They provide entertainment and happiness in times when it has seemed like there isn’t any to be had. The 2021 season looks to bring a lot of success to Weber State, but we’re just happy to see our guys out on the field once again.
We’ve been waiting a long time for this season, and it just might be Weber State’s year. It all starts versus our sort-of rivals to the north on Saturday, and we are looking forward to the journey.