OGDEN — Routines are set, COVID-19 protocols are in place and the spring season is almost here. The biggest question for Weber State football remains who will start at quarterback when the Feb. 27 season opener at Idaho State arrives.
Head coach Jay Hill said Wednesday the race is down to two: junior Randall Johnson and freshman Bronson Barron.
“Those two will continue to battle it out. They’ve both done a good job,” Hill said. “They’ve both had some highs, some ups and downs, which you would expect in a quarterback battle. But I like their progression.”
Johnson led the California junior college circuit of 60-plus schools in total touchdowns as as sophomore at Reedley College in 2018, then redshirted at FBS program Middle Tennessee in 2019. Barron was a first-team All-State quarterback for American Fork (Utah) in 2017 and returned from a mission nearly one year ago.
“The last couple practices, I think either one of them, I know we can win with either one. We’re just going to keep honing in on who that guy is,” Hill said. “I’m excited to see both of them play, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see both of them play a little bit.”
Weather has certainly complicated that process, as well as the general practice situation, as heavy snow has hit most areas of Utah. Hill said the Wildcats haven’t practiced on the field at Stewart Stadium since last week and the team has used a larger indoor facility off campus in the meantime.
Hill expected to be back on the field Thursday and said the situation has allowed for better physical preparation in the weight room.
Idaho State, WSU’s first opponent, has full use of its domed stadium to finish preseason camp.
“It’s good enough to get things done, but it’s not ideal. Our players have handled it outstanding ... you’re going to face some adversity and it’s how you handle it that’s going to make the difference,” he said. “We can’t use that as an excuse ... we’ve got to find a way to overcome it and be just as good as we would have been if we’d been out on our field.”
FALL 2021 SCHEDULE RELEASED
Weber State and the Big Sky Conference released football schedules for the fall 2021 season on Wednesday. Through a vote, the league’s schools decided (not unanimously) to push the lost fall 2020 Big Sky schedule forward to 2021. The 2022 and 2023 schedules will be reworked with the departure of Southern Utah, who is joining the WAC.
Weber State’s schedule is highlighted by a home opener against national power James Madison that begins a two-game series between the schools. Eight of the 11 games are in the state of Utah and another is in Idaho.
Budget-wise, it’s a friendly setup in what should be a post-pandemic world where athletic departments begin to recoup money lost in 2020 from the canceled NCAA Tournament, restrictions on fan attendance and more. That’s boosted by a $600,000 payout coming from the University of Utah, per a contract obtained via open records laws.
Sept. 2: at Utah
Sept. 11: at Dixie State
Sept. 18: vs. James Madison
Sept. 25: vs. UC Davis
Oct. 2: at Cal Poly
Oct. 16: vs. Montana State
Oct. 23: at Eastern Washington
Oct. 30: at Idaho State
Nov. 6: vs. Portland State
Nov. 13: at Southern Utah
Nov. 20: vs. Northern Colorado