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OFFENSE VS. DEFENSE IN WEBER’S SPRING GAME

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Weber State football Coach Dave Arslanian was saying his team didn't have many surprises or injuries - just flu, bumps and bruises - as it winds up spring drills.

Then he got to thinking.He found seven injured players who won't be able to participate in today's Purple/White spring intra-squad game at noon at Wildcat Stadium. The game will last a couple of hours, and admission is free.

Since Weber started with only 58 players on the spring roster, the Wildcats were going to have to be innovative anyway for the spring game, said Arslanian, and he and his staff decided on an offense vs. defense format. His assistants were still devising a scoring formula late this week.

"We don't have enough to split the squad for a spring game, so you have to be creative with what you're doing," he says.

The players who are healthy "are just eager to compete," says Arslanian. "Every scrimmage we've had has been in a controlled environment. We'll turn it loose for a day," he said of the Purple/White game.

None of the injuries are expected to carry over into the fall season.

Arslanian, in fact, foresees a comfortable 1990 team experienced at the skill positions on offense, defense and kicking, improved greatly at offensive line and with a defensive line better than last year's.

Five returning starters and two junior-college transfers will sit out today.

Defensive tackle Dave Palaniuk isn't back from fall ankle surgery, cornerback Austin Peters injured a knee playing basketball, running back Geoff Mitchell broke a foot bone in conditioning drills, defensive end Kenny Peck fractured a wrist a week ago and it's more of a problem than they first thought, and wide receiver Melvin Maxwell overdid a hamstring participating concurrently in football, track and dance. Junior college transfer Mike Moore, defensive end, pulled low back muscles, and Ricks product Sam Katoa, a linebacker, had a recurrence of a pinched nerve in the neck and shoulder.

There were no big questions to be answered this spring anyway. The quarterbacks are set with sophomore Jamie Martin the starter and senior Ryan Schmidt the backup, Brent Chuhaniuk is the kicker/punter, and there's good experience at:

- Running back (Mitchell, George Jackson, Willie Chapman).

- Defensive back (Maurice Jackson, Jody Marshall, Darion Scott, Peters).

- Linebacker (Bob Croyle, Troy Juergens, Reid Leland).

- Wide receiver (Jon Fuller, Dave Hall, Rick Justice, Maxwell, Rob Trebilcock).

- Offensive line (Alan Bott, Kelvin Dexter, Shane Elliott, Russ Henrie, Tom Stackaruk and Bruce Covernton, who moves from the defensive line).

- Defensive line (Rome Essex, James Fundark, Mike Glenn, Tim Otton, Palaniuk).

"Henrie has found himself a good home at center," Arslanian says, "and Otton has really improved at tackle." Justice has come back strong from his 18-month knee injury, and he and Fuller (back from an LDS mission) "make a big difference. Those two kids are just premium," Arslanian says.

Some impressive new men include offensive tackle Ken Rayner and linebacker Katoa.