With a tumultuous offseason behind them, the Weber State University football team and first-year head coach Jody Sears look forward to a brand-new era by kicking off Fall Camp in preparations for the 2012-13 football season. Monday was the first of 17 practice sessions the Wildcats will hold, with the final practice session taking place on Aug. 18, ending Fall Camp.
Sears took over after former head coach and WSU alumnus John L. Smith left WSU for a conditional one-year stint as head coach of the Arkansas Razorbacks.In the midst of this coaching controversy, Sears was left with a cupboard full of talent. Thirty-six lettermen are returning for WSU, including 14 starters, 10 of which earned Big-Sky All-Conference honors last season. Tevia Tolutau, sophmore fullback, was All-Conference first-team. Junior running back Josh Booker, senior defensive end Trevor Pletcher and senior offensive lineman Tytan Timoteo were named All-Conference second-team. Junior safety Tony Epperson, senior quarterback Mike Hoke, senior tight end Brian Jankowski, junior wide receiver Shaydon Kehano, junior linebacker Anthony Morales and junior safety Willie Okwuonu were all Honorable Mentions last season.
Leading the slew of Wildcats this season will be recently named team captains Hoke, Jankowski, Morales and Pletcher. Combined, these players have more than 100 games of experience for WSU under their belts. Hoke threw for more than 2,000 yards with 19 touchdowns to only four interceptions last season, and Jankowski, who helped WSU rush for more than 2,500 yards and 26 touchdowns from the tight end postion, will be the offensive captain. Morales, who had 115 total tackles, two sacks, an interception and a forced fumble last season, and Pletcher, with 6.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and two blocked kicks, will be the defensive captains for the Wildcats.
Following Fall Camp, WSU will host the annual Wildcat Fan Fest, set for Aug. 25 at Stewart Stadium. The fan fest will include Sears speaking to Wildcat fans before the team practices, with just one week remaining before the season-opener.
The Wildcats will kick off the 2012 season on Sept. 1 at Fresno State University and play in-state rival Brigham Young University in Provo the following week. It will mark the fifth-straight season WSU has faced two FBS teams in the same season. WSU’s game at BYU on Sept. 8 will be seen across the nation on BYU-TV. The Wildcats’ home game against the University of Montana on Nov. 3 will be televised live on ROOT Sports, as a part of the Big Sky Conference’s new TV contract with ROOT.