There are 15 seniors listed on Weber State's football roster.
Even if all of them were starters, the Wildcats would need underclassmen to step in just to suit up enough players for a full offense, defense and special teams, but first-year Weber State coach John L. Smith believes his team will go as the seniors go this fall.
"I'm a big believer you're as good as your seniors," Smith says. "Seniors have to take control of this football team and I told them that from Day 1. If we don't get great leadership from them, then we're not going to be a great football team; if we get great leadership from them, we'll be a great football team. I've always believed that."
The seniors have to believe as well, and understand and accept the role the coaching staff is pushing them into, Smith said.
On any football team, the quarterback is expected to be a leader; Mike Hoke is both a senior and the returning starter, but a shoulder surgery before spring practices has prevented him from taking any snaps while he rehabilitates with an eye toward being ready for fall camp.
Not that Hoke wants to wait that long.
"If I could keep Hoke out of trying to get in the middle of things, before he's healed, without pads, it would be great," Smith joked after last Saturday's scrimmage. "Right now he shows me he's on track."
Though Hoke can't get on the field, he's impressed Smith off the field.
"The one thing I've been able to see in this period of time is I think he could be a great leader for us. To me, he's kind of a warrior. He's a guy that when he says something, these kids listen and they kind of fall in order. We need great leadership so I'm anxious to get him back."
New quarterbacks coach Justin Rascati has also noticed that from Hoke.
"He runs the team and he does a great job of leading the guys and really focusing in on the little things with some of the new parts of our offense. I'm excited to work with him. I watched all the film from last year. He's got a lot of talent. I think we can really do some big things with our group of quarterbacks and hopefully be able to lead the team next year."
In the meantime, junior Jordan Adamczyk is the No. 1 quarterback and will be until Hoke or one of the other QBs is strong enough to take the job from him, Smith said earlier in the week.
Competition and pressure will make all of Weber State's quarterbacks better.
"On Jordan in particular we've been hard and we're going to continue to be hard on him about stepping up, taking control, being more assertive," Smith said.
Expect the same for the group of seniors Smith is counting on.
It's been a long spring camp, but Weber State is down to two practices before wrapping up with its annual Purple and White spring game.
WSU will host a track meet earlier in the day, so the scrimmage will be under the lights at Stewart Stadium on Saturday beginning at 6 p.m.
John L. Smith and his staff will address fans in a chalktalk at 4:30 p.m. prior to the game.
Damian Lillard is expected to become the first Wildcat basketball player to be taken in the first round of the NBA Draft after declaring his intention last week to turn pro instead of return for his senior season at Weber State.
There are a lot of factors that go into determining where Dynamite Damian ends up in the draft, many of which, like the lottery order, have yet to be decided.
Lillard grew up a fan of his hometown Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif., and also followed the L.A. Lakers during their playoff runs.
In Ogden, there's plenty of sentiment for the Utah Jazz to take him. The Jazz scouted Lillard extensively during his breakout junior season.
Wildcats center Kyle Tresnak has his own ideas about where Lillard should end up.
"It's said to see him go but I'm happy for his opportunity and I know he's going to do really great -- take his talents and expand on them to be able to play in the NBA," Tresnak said. "Just watching him work out and seeing the way he played this past year was unbelievable. It's great to see how much he's improved through the year."
"It's inspiring just to see that a guy at Weber State can go and be projected as a lottery pick right now. We'll see where he ends up going but I think it will be up there (in the lottery)."
Tresnak, a junior-to-be and a native of Scottsdale, Ariz., might play college ball in Utah but he has his own NBA loyalties.
"Hopefully (Damian) goes to the Suns -- my hometown team."
Roy Burton covers Weber State sports for the Standard-Examiner. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow @Roy Burton on Twitter and read more about the Wildcats at blogs.standard.net/wsu-sports-blog.