The good thing for Weber? 11 starters return to a team that went 0-9 the season before. Of course, that could also be the bad news for Warriors if things get off to a rocky start.
Head coach Rick Corbridge is betting the former, especially after a good off-season in the weight room and a good summer of conditioning.
There is some late-breaking news: Starting quarterback Jason Mann is out for the opener against Box Elder with a sprained ankle that could take a few weeks to heal. He was listed as questionable, but Corbridge has decided against playing his senior and one of the hubs of his offense.
"We want him to be completely healthy, so it just makes sense to let him sit this one out and heal up," Corbridge said. "We're really going to need him, and this is a preseason game."
Without Mann, Weber will turn to Zack Noyes, who has also had a very productive off-season. This is a program that's undergone a few changes. Gone is the 3-4 defense from last season, in favor of the 4-3 and a more blitz-centric defense.
"The biggest thing is for us to build off the end of last year and to get ourselves established," Corbridge said. "We've been working like crazy, and the kids have overcome a lot of adversity to get tothis point. We played well at the end of last season."
Fullback Austin Tesch will play a major role in the offense, as will junior Nathan Kelly and senior David Welch. They offer an element of speed that wasn't there before. Damian Morley, a junior wide receiver, is being counted on to have a breakout season. Jordan Mills will move from linebacker to defensive end.
LAST SEASON: 0-9, missed the playoffsKEY RETURNER: Jason Mann is fast and quick from his quarterback spot. He's improved in the passing game as well. PLAYER TO WATCH: Jordan Mills has moved from linebacker to defensive end. He is a natural pass-rusher and could have a great season. BIGGEST HOLE: Confidence. Does Weber know how to win down the stretch? The Warriors are much improved on paper. Will it translate when the games start? NEED TO KNOW: Rick Corbridge is 3-15 in his tenure at Weber.SEASON OPENER: Visits Box Elder. Aug. 17 @ 7 p.m.
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