OGDEN — Another former Wildcats coach is returning to the sidelines at Weber State.
WSU football has hired former NFL defensive back Andre Dyson to coach cornerbacks, which reunites him with his former college teammate Jay Hill and longtime friend Matt Hammer.
Dyson recently resigned after seven seasons as head coach at Clearfield High, his alma mater in Northern Utah, where he coached after three seasons as WSU corners coach under Ron McBride.
Dyson is one of three additions to the football staff announced Wednesday. Former Utah State linebacker and coach Bojay Filimoeatu comes to Weber State to coach the defensive line, and former Southern Utah All-American and Oakland Raiders player James Cowser will assist on defense.
Dyson and Hill played together in Utah’s secondary and picked off a staggering six passes each in 1999.
“He was a great player. He was fast, athletic, had ball skills,” Hill said. “People didn’t want to throw at him so they had to throw at me, so midway through the season I had a bunch of interceptions ... I owe a ton of my success to him. Our film study together, pushing each other, that was a big deal.”
The Clearfield native played 96 games in seven NFL seasons, and played in the Super Bowl with the Seattle Seahawks. Hill said he’s spoken with Dyson several times in recent years about the possibility of returning to college coaching, and the opportunity presented itself this year after Dyson resigned at Clearfield High at the same time WSU had staff turnover.
“It just made tons of sense,” Hill said. “He’s already made a huge impact with the corners. When you step in a room and they know you played seven years in the NFL, you were a great player yourself and you’ve already coached that position, it was a pretty easy hire.”
Dyson replaces Shaun Harper, who coached cornerbacks in 2019.
Filimoeatu, a native of West Valley City, comes to Weber State after two seasons as defensive ends coach at Utah State. The former USU player, who once camped with the Raiders, also coached linebackers for two seasons at San Jose State. He replaces six-year coach Kite Afeaki, who resigned in the fall.
“(Filimoeatu) was a great player ... and he was one of Gary’s (Andersen) first hires when he went back to Utah State just because everybody thinks so highly of him,” Hill said. “So when we had the opportunity to snag him up, these hires were no-brainers to me.”
With Filimoeatu’s hire, recent addition Robert Conley, a former offensive lineman and longtime offensive coach who was originally hired to coach defensive line, will shift to the offensive side of the ball and coach running backs after six-year RB coach Quinton Ganther was hired by Urban Meyer to coach with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“I knew eventually I was going to lose Quinton Ganther and I needed to get somebody on our staff, have them here learning our culture and what we do so that when that eventually happened, we were ready to roll with the next guy,” Hill said. “So I brought Robert as the D-line coach more than anything just to get him on our staff because I think he’s a phenomenal coach, but I knew eventually I’d move him to the offensive side of the ball. It just happened quicker than we thought.”
Cowser, one of the most accomplished defensive players in Big Sky history and a Davis High alum, has spent time around the program in recent years. As a defensive end, he finished his career in 2015 as the all-time leader in career sacks and tackles for loss at the FCS level (he’s now second in both categories), and spent three seasons with the Raiders between the active roster and practice squad, and playing defensive end and linebacker. He appeared in 22 NFL games, recording 32 tackles.
Hill said Cowser would assist Grant Duff in coaching outside linebackers and defensive ends.
“He’s intelligent, smart, he’s already got a master’s degree ... He’s a guy that needs to be coaching and we were lucky to get him on our staff when we did,” Hill said. “Look for him to get more and more responsibility because I think he’s going to be a star.”
Conley, Cowser, Dyson and Filimoeatu join Matty Ah You, the linebackers coach, as five new additions to the coaching staff since the conclusion of the 2019 season. Hammer, Duff, offensive line and associate head coach Brent Myers, safeties coach Joe Dale, receivers coach Jared Ursua and tight ends coach Skyler Ridley return from last season.
QB COMPETITION CONTINUES
As preseason camp continues ahead of the Feb. 27 opener at Idaho State, Hill said all four of his quarterback candidates — junior transfer Randall Johnson, sophomores Teryn Berry and Kylan Weisser, and freshman Bronson Barron — have all put forward days that show each could “be the guy.”
But nothing’s settled yet.
“We’re hoping this second scrimmage tells us a lot,” Hill said of the upcoming weekend.
He said the middle of next week, which is about 10 days from the opener, is his target for putting all the No. 1 reps into the starter. Hill and Hammer, the latter being the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, will lead the decision but input from anyone on the staff will be heard, Hill said.