Weber State football gearing up for Cal — a much different opponent

Thursday , September 07, 2017 - 5:00 AM

BRANDON GARSIDE, Standard-Examiner Staff

OGDEN — Upsets are part of college football, and the Weber State Wildcats will try staging one of their own Saturday as they face the California Golden Bears in Berkeley.

The Pac-12 team finished fourth in the North Division in 2016, and was picked to finish sixth in the preseason polls this year.

New hope for Cal has arrived in first-year head coach Justin Wilcox, who earned his first win for the Bears in a 35-30 victory at North Carolina last week.

> Weber State moves up in FCS polls after season-opening win

“I like their schemes both offensively and defensively, and their special teams stuff,” WSU head coach Jay Hill said. “They’re well-coached. They play hard, much harder than what I hear they were playing in the past. I like the direction of where they’re going.

“Coach Wilcox is going to do a good job to get that program turned around.”

Weber State faced a team from a level of competition much lower than Cal when it historically battered Montana Western 76-0 last week, but Hill still believes his team can learn from the game and be reminded of their potential.

“We know if we execute well and we prepare well, we can play well on game day and the results are good,” Hill said. “If we go down there and pucker because we’re scared or the opportunity’s too big for us, we’re not going to play good.

“We just need to go out there and have fun, play the game we love. We need to be physical. We need to be tough,” he said.

In X’s and O’s, Hill said his defense will need to get aligned early as the Bears play a no-huddle tempo on offense.

Hill said he doesn’t think Cal will overlook Weber State — that coaching staffs don’t overlook any opponent as it’s their job to make sure players are prepared.

As much is the case for Cal, as Wilcox effortlessly described the threats Weber State presents in his weekly press conference Monday — referencing tight end Andrew Vollert, WSU’s variety of offensive looks and aggressive style of defense.

“Jay Hill does a really nice job. He was at Utah for a long time and I have a lot of respect for him,” Wilcox said. “They’re going to be well-coached, they’re really tough. They’ve got some really good players, so it’ll be a challenge for us again.”

Saturday’s game is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. MDT at California Memorial Stadium in Berkley. It will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network Bay Area and Steve Klauke will have the radio call on 1430 AM KLO.

Contact sports reporter Brandon Garside at bgarside@standard.net, on Twitter @BrandonGarside and on Facebook.com/BrandonGarsideSE.

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