Prep football two-a-days: Weber
The day Matt Hammer was hired, he told his players if they showed up every day and practiced like it was their last, they'd turn around things.
The former Weber State University offensive coordinator and assistant coach now is at the helm of Weber High School, a Warrior program that hasn't won a football game since Sept. 17, 2010.
Weber, which plays in the perennially tough Region 1, has lost 24 straight football games.
"I had to re-energize them and tell them, 'You can win football games here. You will football games here,'" Hammer said. "We've got to fix a broken culture that was here."
He's done his due diligence in promoting the sport in Pleasant View.
Hammer said the program has 110 football players this year, and he took 94 to a football camp at Southern Utah University earlier this year.
"We have plenty of kids," he said. "No more excuses."
The Warriors have a conglomerate of seniors, juniors and sophomores in 2013, headlined by returning quarterback Cole Dean, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound junior who Hammer says looks the part.
"The game has to slow down for him," Hammer said. "It continues to get better every day, and he understands the offense."
Arguably the most important player returning for Weber is senior Austin Tesch, a 6-3, 220-pound linebacker and running back who broke his collarbone early in the season a year ago.
"I think he is a D-I player," Hammer said.
Tesch will anchor a defense that has a core group of returners. While Hammer said none "jump off the page," he's looking forward to seeing how his front seven works together.
"The biggest question mark is: How tough will we be? How tough will be to fight back when someone punches us in the mouth?" he said. "I'm intrigued to watch them play."
ASSIGNMENT • Region 1
LAST YEAR • 0-10 overall, 0-5 Region 1
KEY RETURNER • Austin Tesch, sr., RB/LB. At 6 foot 3 and 220 pounds, Tesch will anchor the Weber defense and will be one of the featured backs in the backfield for the offense. Said coach Hammer: "With Austin, you see him on the field, he looks the part. He plays with that kind of swagger you want."
PLAYER TO WATCH • Cole Dean, jr., QB. A prototypical quarterback in size (6-2, 185), Dean can make all the throws needed, Hammer said. The key for Dean is to read the game and ensure it slows down as time progresses.
BIGGEST HOLE • History. Any time a program has lost 24 straight football games, the belief system must be knocked down and rebuilt from the bottom up. Hammer said the staff has its group believing in snapping the streak and reversing course.
NEED TO KNOW • Hammer, a former offensive coordinator and assistant coach at Weber State, said he plans to create a unified football program in Pleasant View, starting with the elementary school team and into junior high.