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'Little sharper': Spring season a big boost to Weber State as it prepares for fall campaign

Weber State head coach Jay Hill during a game on Sept. 13, 2014.

Weber State head coach Jay Hill during a game on Sept. 13, 2014. (AP)

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OGDEN — After a three month offseason, Weber State football is back with fall camp officially underway.

And despite the short turnaround, head coach Jay Hill is pleased with the condition his players were in as they reported to the first day of camp.

"It was good, it was almost like we didn't leave," Hill said. "I had one of the players run up to me and say, 'Coach, it's like we practiced yesterday.' So the short break was good. We got a good enough break that the guys were rejuvenated. I don't think they missed much and they looked sharp for a first practice."

The Big Sky Conference delayed its 2020 season due to COVID-19 and moved it to the spring of 2021 with an abbreviated schedule. Remarkably, the Wildcats won the conference with a 5-0 league record and claimed the title for the fourth consecutive year — and the seventh overall in school history.

With their eyes set on yet another conference trophy, Hill said the spring season helped his team be a "little sharper" than what three spring ball scrimmages could provide in a normal season.

"That was an opportunity to at least get more reps, get more guys involved, those kinds of things," Hill said. "I think that was a positive. We didn't get too banged up in the spring so we stayed relatively healthy, where that would've been a huge negative of the spring season if we got really banged up, but we didn't."

The fall practices, though, will help the team acclimate to the grind of a regular season.

"Effort, energy, more of the cultural stuff, we like to see our culture carry over to the field," Hill said. "(Wednesday) was different because when you return 15 fifth-year seniors, basically you get an opportunity to be pretty clean when you have that many seniors that have played basically two senior years, and I think that's the biggest reason as to why today was better."

Despite having so many seniors, the program still has its fair share of underclassmen, including true freshman quarterback Barron Bronson, who saw action in five games during the spring. He threw for 1,071 yards and seven touchdowns and played a major role in Weber's conference title. He took over the starting role and finished fifth in the conference in total offense (1,132 yards) and sixth in the league in passing.

Bronson called the spring season "huge" for his development, especially after not playing football for a couple years.

"Being able to get six games of experience you can't emulate a game in any way, so being able to get those six games was big," Bronson said. "Being able to understand college football, and just get the opportunity to play with these guys, it was huge."

Now with a full fall camp ahead of them, Weber hopes to build off their successful spring season. But with the University of Utah first on their schedule, they'll need to be firing on all cylinders right out of the gate.

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