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Weber State football seeks health, humility during bye week

By Brett Hein - Standard-Examiner | Sep 28, 2022

ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner

Weber State defensive linemen Brayden Wilson (94) and Kalisi Moli (98) battle blocks from Utah Tech offensive linemen Walter Pongia (54) and Kanai'i Eldredge (64) during a game Saturday, Sept. 17, 2022, at Stewart Stadium in Ogden. (ISAAC FISHER, Special to the Standard-Examiner)

OGDEN — Weber State’s unbeaten start to the 2022 football season has given the Wildcats plenty to digest, and an off week is a natural time to take stock in what’s gone well and what can go better.

“There’s so many good things, and we have plenty of stuff to clean up and get better at,” head coach Jay Hill said. “That’s the idea, we want to peak at the right time. And we can still get a lot better.”

Health is always a focus during a bye week. The team practiced a few times early in the week and will spend the rest of it in the weight room, watching film and resting up before resuming normal practice activities ahead of the Oct. 8 home game against Eastern Washington.

Hill says the Week 5 bye falls right in his preferred window for the week in the schedule with no game, and that it should allow several banged-up players to return to action. He named offensive lineman Meleke Tauteoli, running back Kris Jackson and backup safety LJ Anderson as the players most likely to benefit.

Overall, though, it’s a better start to the season in that regard than Weber State has enjoyed in a few years.

“I would say four games in, we’re in a lot better situation than we were last year at this time, knock on wood. We’re relatively healthy right now,” Hill said.

The No. 8 Wildcats are 4-0 for only the third time in the last 50 years and for the first time since 1998.

Junior cornerback Eddie Heckard says that means only one thing.

“Staying humble,” Heckard said as the team’s focus. “As we continue to win, we can’t let a game slip. We’re probably not going to play a better team, talent-wise, as Utah State. Everybody went out there, was locked in, believed they could win. So as long as we do that every game and don’t let this 4-0 record get to you.”

Hill likes what he’s seen offensively, though consistency is still key to turn a unit he’s seen “at times” be “as explosive as anybody” into a constant threat. He lauded the defense for dealing well with “sudden change” and getting out of drives that came after offensive turnovers.

And, overall, Hill likes the resolute way his team takes the field, series after series.

“They’ll fight. A little adversity has not got them off track too far, which is great,” he said.

EWU SCHEDULE CHANGE

Weber State’s homecoming game against Eastern Washington already fell at an odd time for the Eagles. In consecutive weeks, EWU played at Oregon (a 70-14 loss) and hosted last year’s national FCS runner-up in Montana State (a 38-35 loss) before a scheduled to trip to The Swamp in Florida.

Now, due to Hurricane Ian, Florida postponed this week’s game to Sunday morning, costing EWU an extra day.

With WSU resting up on a bye while EWU flies on one of the longest trips possible to play an SEC team during that gauntlet, the schedule already set up a certain way for the Oct. 8 game in Ogden. Now it’s an even tougher row to hoe for the Eagles.

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