For the first time in years, the Weber State University Football Team will have a different quarterback this season. There will be many changes, but one thing will stay the same: There will be a big Hawaiian under center.
Mike Hoke, a 6-foot-2-inch, 220-pound quarterback from Kailua, Hawaii, will take over the starting job from 6-foot-2-inch, 215-pound Cameron Higgins, who graduated last year. Higgins is from Hawaii Kai, Hawaii.
Hoke has big shoes to fill, as Higgins leaves WSU holding school records in career passing yards, career touchdowns, career completions and career passing efficiency rating. Hoke said he feels prepared to step into the new role, and that he isn’t worrying about being the next Higgins.
“I try not to think about all the records he set and everything,” he said. “I don’t think anyone will do what he did. I’m just going to try and be my own player and definitely take what he did and use all the things he gave me and just try to help my team win.”
Hoke said that he was able to learn a lot from fellow Hawaiian Higgins, and that he now feels he is ready to lead the team in the upcoming season.
“I’ve got a lot more confidence now, and I’m excited to get the season going,” he said.
In Hoke’s career, he has appeared in 16 games, and thrown for 419 yards and three touchdowns. Last season, he showed fans that he has an added weapon in his arsenal. He showed he has a strong ability to scramble and run for extra yards.
Jason Beck, the quarterbacks coach, said that one of Hoke’s strengths is his drive, as well as his strong work ethic.
“Mike has done everything the right way since he has been here,” Beck said. “He works hard every day and is always ready to play. Because of that, he is ready for this season and ready to be the leader. He makes great decisions and takes care of the football.”
Beck also said that Hoke’s running ability and athleticism adds another dimension to the quarterback position for the Wildcats.
Hoke said that the practices had been good and that they were very competitive. He said that it is good to be back on the field.
“It feels real good,” Hoke said. “I’ve been missing out over the summer, and got real anxious. It’s real fun to be out here.”
Head Coach Ron McBride also said that he isn’t worried about Hoke replacing Higgins, and that he feels Hoke is ready to step in and lead the team.
“Oh, he’s doing great,” McBride said. “He is 100 percent prepared for what is coming up; I don’t have any concerns about him.”
McBride also said that Hoke had a strong spring and fared well during the practices and scrimmages. In the spring game in April, Hoke had a strong performance. He completed 24 of 37 passes and threw for 273 yards. He also threw one touchdown and ran for another touchdown.
In the first team scrimmage of the fall, Hoke was 10-18, and threw for 118 yards and one touchdown.
Hoke said that he doesn’t worry about the team getting a lower ranking in the Big Sky Conference, and that he is looking forward to the challenge of proving the critics wrong.