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College football: Weber State opens vs. Fresno State in battle of new coaches

Sears is ready for debut as Wildcats’ coach vs. Fresno St.

First Published Aug 31 2012 04:20 pm • Last Updated Dec 25 2012 11:31 pm

Ogden • Quarterback Mike Hoke is healthy. There are 14 returning starters.

Yet much of the attention for Weber State as it opens its football season at Fresno State will be on the sideline and its coach, Jody Sears.

At a glance

Weber State at Fresno State

At Bulldog Stadium, (Fresno, Calif.)

Kickoff » Saturday, 8 p.m. MDT

TV » None

Radio » 97.5 FM

All-time series » FSU 3-0

Last meeting » FSU, 55-17 (Sept. 10, 2005)

About the Wildcats » Quarterback Mike Hoke is recovered fully from offseason shoulder surgery. He finished 12th nationally in passing efficiency despite the arm injury.

About the Bulldogs » FSU begins the season as a new member of the Mountain West Conference.

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"My biggest concern is, ‘What have I forgotten?’ " said Sears, who will be wearing the No. 1 headset for the first time in his college coaching career. "There are so many details and nuances of the game ... little things."

The Wildcats, who went 5-6 a year ago, will open against a member of the Football Bowl Subvision for the fifth consecutive season. They came within three points of upsetting Wyoming in 2011.

Kickoff is 8 p.m. MDT at Bulldog Stadium.

"In terms of confidence, that comes from the daily prep, maintaining standards day in and day out," said Sears, who was named interim coach in the spring when John L. Smith took a job with Arkansas.

The Wildcats were picked to finish sixth by Big Sky Conference coaches. Weber State experienced a coaching whirlwind with Ron McBride’s retirement and the hiring and leaving of Smith.

Fresno State also has a new look. Tim DeRuyter, who is making his head coaching debut, replaces Pat Hill. DeRuyter has one game of experience as a head coach.

He was Texas A&M interim coach when the Aggies beat Northwestern in the 2011 Meineke Car Care Bowl.

DeRuyter brings a new-look offense and defense while trying to rebuild a program that went 4-9 in 2011. Running the show will be junior quarterback Derek Carr, the preseason 2012 Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year.

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Sears, however, is concentrating on his team.

"Fresno State is an extremely talented team," he said. "There are some unknowns about both teams this week.

"It’s just football, right? It’s not like I’m playing a new kind of game."

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