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Weber State football: Smith has chance to go down in Big Sky history

OGDEN — Weber State running back Trevyn Smith has a chance to make some personal history this season.

Smith, already the Wildcats' all-time leader in rushing yards with 4,028, could become the first player in Big Sky history to win the conference rushing title in four consecutive seasons. Smith won the rushing title his redshirt freshman, sophomore and junior seasons and was named a first-team all-conference pick after all three years.

It's been a remarkable career for Smith, who said he's going into 2009 thinking only about team goals and not individual stats or accolades.

"I mean it's crossed my mind (winning the Big Sky rushing title a fourth time), but you can't think about that," Smith said between two-a-day practices on Friday. "I got to think about what the team needs and those types of things. I'm nothing without my team. If they don't produce, then I don't produce. I have to make sure we're on the same page as a team, not just by myself."

Smith was recently added to the Payton Award preseason watch list. That honor goes to the top player in the Football Championship Subdivision at the end of the season.

"It's an honor," Smith said. "It's awesome, but I'm just worried about Wyoming (Weber State's first opponent this season) and getting on with the season. I'm not really worried about what I do."

Smith is the sixth-leading rusher in Big Sky history. If he stays healthy he should be able to climb to No. 3 on the all-time list. Ryan Fuqua, who played at Portland State, is currently the conference's third all-time leading rusher. Smith trails him by 702 rushing yards.

Smith became Weber State's all-time leading rusher last season, surpassing the former record of 3,593 yards by Nick Chournos.

FULLBACK RACE HEATING UP: The No. 7-ranked Wildcats bring back a lot of talent from last year, but one huge hole to fill is at fullback. Marcus Mailei, now in camp with the Philadelphia Eagles, was a bruiser last season and a big key to the running game.

Four players – JaredCosper,BoBolen,VaiTafuna and ZacEldridge — are vying to replace Mailei and be Smith's lead blocker. Cosper left spring ball as the No. 1 fullback, but the other players have been solid in fall camp, making the competition very close.

Bolen may be the most intriguing of the group. The freshman from Aurora, Colo., can block, run the ball, run great routes and catch passes. Coach Ron McBride said Bolen can line up at fullback, tailback and slot receiver.

"Bo gives you an added dimension," McBride said. "He gives you a lot of advantages because he can do so many things. He's real valuable. Mentally, he can handle it because he's a very smart kid."

HAWAII CONNECTION: Two of Weber State's biggest playmakers on offense — quarterback Cameron Higgins and tight end CodyNakamura – hail from Hawaii. Now, it looks like the defense will feature some firepower from the islands.

Three defensive linemen are making an impact so far in fall camp. Sophomore RyanEastman, who recorded two sacks and forced a fumble last season, has been joined by freshmen Adam Sagapolutele-White and Bijon Moustoufi as potential standouts on the defensive line. McBride said the play of three athletes has been one of the surprises of camp.

"They're all pretty good players," McBride said. "They'll add to what we're doing."

SCRIMMAGES SET: Fans can get their first glimpse of the Wildcats in simulated game action this morning. They have the first of three scrimmages on the practice field at 8:30 a.m. The Wildcats have tentatively scheduled their second one on Wednesday at 4 p.m., and the last one will be next Saturday at 8:30 a.m.

e-mail: aaragon@desnews.com