Weber State University’s Football Team will travel to Laramie, Wyo. on Friday to play the University of Wyoming for the first football game of the 2011 season. This year, WSU was picked to finish fifth by the media and sixth by the coaches in the preseason polls.
Senior offensive lineman Captain JC Oram said that despite the low rankings, the team enjoys being the underdog. “We are going to surprise a lot of people,” Oram said. “Being the underdog, for us, is what we want. We want people to think ‘Oh we are just playing Weber State’ and that way they will be more surprised when we win. I am excited to be the underdog and surprise people that we can actually win games.”
Senior safety Blake Keller said that even though every player knows the preseason polls, they will still be preparing for every game.
“We don’t care what they say about us,” Keller said. “That stuff doesn’t really matter at the first of the year. What does matter is what happens when teams get together and become a team and create chemistry and come out and prove it on Saturdays. You can have the best team on paper, but that doesn’t mean you are going to win games.”
Head Coach Ron McBride is back for his seventh season as the head of the Wildcats and his 20th season as a head coach. On Oct. 14, McBride will turn 72. He will be the sixth oldest active head coach in Division I football.
Sophomore cornerback Robbie Diamond said that age has no negative effect on McBride’s coaching abilities.
“A lot of people expect great things out of him,” Diamond said. “He has been coaching for years and is very familiar with NCAA ball. He is a great coach, he knows what he is doing. He is great and I’m glad to have him.”
Quarterback Mike Hoke will be well-protected this year because WSU’s offensive lines are said to be the strongest aspect of the team. Oram said that after a rough start to last season and the learning experience the line gained, they will be much better this year.
“This year, the reason why we have gotten so much better is that we have great expectations from our experiences,” Oram said. “We are all brothers. Every offensive line men knows that we run a tight brotherhood. We have built that brotherhood so we know that we have to get the job done to win the game. If the offensive line doesn’t do good, the entire offense is not productive at all.”
This year, the team is running a hurry-up offense. Oram said that they have been getting in shape and really learning the plays so that there will be no mistakes. He also said that they have been studying the Dallas Cowboys’ defense so they know what and how to counteract.
“When we go out there, we will know the defense that is coming at us so we know what to expect,” Oram said.
Defensively, WSU has been gearing up for UW’s fast-paced offense.
“What we are trying to do is utilize our talents and speed on defense,” Keller said. “We feel like we are pretty talented this year and instead of going to do all kinds of crazy things, we are going to stick to the basics and try and keep up with their tempo.”
Oram said that the thing he is most excited for about this weekend is to finally compete in a game.
“I am looking forward to actually playing football again and to get the season started,” Oram said. “I just want to get up there and finally play a game. It’s what we have been working towards since January.”
Although Diamond is out with an injury for the first game, he said that the team is preparing for a win against the Cowboys.
“We are just making sure that we are mentally prepared, physically prepared and hopefully we can play as a team and come out with a win,” Diamond said.