Photo By: Tyler Brown
Mike Hoke passes the ball at practice earlier this season. WSU will start its season off against California State University, Fresno on Saturday at 8 p.m.

The Weber State University football team will begin its season tomorrow as it travels to Fresno, Calif., to take on the California State University, Fresno Bulldogs.

WSU will open the season facing a Football Bowl Subdivision opponent on the road for the fourth-straight season. The last time the Wildcats won a season-opening game was against Southern Utah University back in the year 1990.

The last time WSU and Fresno were matched up together in competition in 2005, Fresno came away the winner, scoring 55 points against WSU’s 17.

The Wildcats’ winning history against FBS teams isn’t high, with an overall record of 3-46 during the past 50 years, but the team is looking to put up its best game against the Bulldogs regardless of the record.

“We try to treat it like any other game, but knowing the odds are against us,” said team captain and senior quarterback Mike Hoke. “I think that kind of plays to our favor because (there is) nothing to lose, and, you know, nothing is really expected of you . . .”

WSU is returning to action after an eventful offseason and training camp. The team has been preparing for the season over the summer and has had a few individual preparations for its upcoming game.

“It’s pretty much like every other week,” Hoke said. “(We are) just watching film and following the game plan. It’s a little different because (Fresno) has a new coaching staff, and all of their coaching staff is from Texas A&M pretty much, so we kind of have to watch Fresno State and Texas A & M film — that’s pretty much the only difference with any other game this season.”

The Wildcats are also bringing back many familiar faces to the roster, including 35 lettermen and 14 starters from last season’s football team. Among these, they have also named four team captains, including Brian Jankowski, Trevor Pletcher, Anthony Morales and Hoke.

Head football coach Jody Sears is beginning his first season with the Wildcats and his first season as a head coach. He said the internal factors of the team are more influential than the external.

“The biggest thing we have to do,” Sears said, “is that we are focusing on ourselves and what we have to do. There is a fair bit of unknown with Fresno State, with their new staff and new philosophies, but we kind of have a general idea of what kind of . . . program they will be. But at the end of the day, it has got to come back to us . . . We can’t have any foolish penalties; we can’t turn the ball over. Our communication has got to be perfect. But you can practice those things and you can control those things . . . so we are just focused on our preparation.”

Sears said he has no predictions for Saturday’s matchup.

“I am a process-oriented kind of coach . . . and I know if we go play good, hard football, and we eliminate bad football . . . everything else will take care of itself,” Sears said. “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. It’s simple. It’s about blocking and tackling and running and being tough and teaching our kids how to handle adversity.”

He also recognized that the team’s overall objective and final goal is a clear one, but that it comes down to the small and simple things.

“Yeah, you play the game to go win, and that’s what our intent is. But that’s not our focus. The focus is one play at a time.”

 

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