Wildcats hold first spring football scrimmage

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News release The defending Big Sky Conference champions, the Weber State University Wildcats, were put through a 90 minute scrimmage on a cold morning with intermittent snow flurries. It was the first scrimmage of the Spring for the Wildcats and head coach Ron McBride. McBride, opening up his fifth season overseeing the ‘Cats, was pleased and disappointed but overall felt good about his 2009 squad.

"It was a good, spirited scrimmage," said McBride. "I really liked the way the defense was flying around, finding the ball carriers. The secondary did a good job of locating the ball in the air and getting to the receivers. That side of the ball played with a great deal of passion and purpose."

The Wildcats defense recorded seven quarterback sacks with TAYLOR CALDWELL (6-5, 210 Soph. DE) leading the way with 2.50 sacks. All-America candidate, KEVIN LINEHAN (6-3, 245 Sr. DE) had two sacks as did BRIGHTON BARKDULL (6-3, 250 Sr.).

The secondary also had a big day picking off four passes in various game situations. THYRELL LEWIS (5-9. 175 Sr. CB) had two "picks. All-America candidate BEAU HADLEY (6-0, 185 Sr. Safety), ANTWAIN STUTSON (6-1, 185 Soph. CB) and WILLIE HARRIS (6-0, 210 Fr. LB) each had one.

The offense was a bit handicapped. The Wildcats had just seven offensive linemen available for duty. Though those seven gained valuable experience, there wasn't much room to substitute and rest.

"Our offensive linemen played well but they got pretty tired at the end," said McBride. "I wasn't pleased with all the false start penalties we had today.. There's no excuse for those. We need to be disciplined, listen and go on ball movement."

The 2008 Big Sky Conference offensive player of the year, CAMERON HIGGINS (6-2, 200 Jr. QB) was 9-20 passing for 176 yards and two touchdowns, but was picked off three times. JOEL HANCOCK (6-4, 200 Fr. QB) caught McBride's eye. The former Fremont High stand out completed 9-15 passes for 151 yards and one touchdown. Most of those yards came when his unit was given the ball at the one-yardline and asked to drive the length of the field. Hancock responded completing 6-9 passes, with a 32-yard completion to JOE COLLINS (6-3, 195 WR) on the first play of the drive.

JUSTIN SCHWARTZBAUER (6-1, 190 Sr. WR) then caught a 30 yards pass in the middle of the drive and ended it catching by catching and 18-yard touchdown pass.

"The quarterbacks all played well today and showed leadership," McBride said. "Joel Hancock has really made tremendous improvement from last Fall. That was a big time drive he orchestrated and showed a lot of poise and maturity."

Eleven different receivers had catches but no receiver had more than three. Schwartzbauer led the receiving corp with three catches for 63 yards.

TREVYN SMITH (5-9, 210 Sr. RB), the three-time defending Big Sky Conference rushing leader, had seven catches for 42 yards and two catches for 37 yards including a 25-yard TD toss from Cameron Higgins. BO BOLEN (5-9, 200 RsFr. RB) had the bulk of the rushing load with 12 rushes for 63 yards and had two catches for 24 yards.

The Wildcats continue Spring drills next week on Tuesday (April 7) and Thursday (April 9) from 3:00-5:30 p.m. each day at the practice field, weather permitting. The Wildcats will hold another scrimmage next Saturday, April 11 at 10:00 a.m. on the practice field.

The annual PURPLE / WHITE Spring Football Game is set for Saturday, April 18 inside Stewart Stadium. Game time has tentatively been set for 11:00 a.m.

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