Facebook Twitter

Weber State football: Wildcats’ coach pleased with team’s progress and play of senior QB

SHARE Weber State football: Wildcats’ coach pleased with team’s progress and play of senior QB
New Weber State head coach Jay Hill instructs during practice in Ogden  Thursday, April 10, 2014.

New Weber State head coach Jay Hill instructs during practice in Ogden Thursday, April 10, 2014.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

I like the early on progression of the ones (first stringers). I thought they picked up right where they left off in spring ball. – Jay Hill

OGDEN — There are two things that college football teams can expect during fall camp, including one thing they always hope to see and something else they definitely dread.

The first thing is progress, which is the goal of every team in America. Weber State has certainly seen plenty of that thus far after two-plus weeks of fall drills.

The other thing is injuries, which unfortunately the Wildcats have witnessed quite a bit as well.

"I like the early on progression of the ones (first stringers). I thought they picked up right where they left off in spring ball," said WSU third-year head coach Jay Hill. "We're playing at a real high level; now we're starting to get into Week 3 where camp injuries are mounting — nothing serious, knock on wood — but we've got a bunch of those nagging injuries. We've got a bunch of good players who are injured right now, it's given the backups some opportunities to play more.

"And what it's done is it's really exposed that we've got a long ways to go still with a lot of those backups. We've got to continue to work on the depth now — everyone across the country is doing that right now — but that's the definite, glaring weakness right now is at certain spots we have depth issues.

"There's a pretty drastic dropoff right now of the way — not necessarily the actual talent — but the way some position groups are playing in the two and three groups compared to the ones," Hill said. "We've gotta get better."

There were some things that impressed the Wildcats' coach, especially the play of senior quarterback Jadrian Clark and the rest of his team's offense, as they headed into the third week of fall camp.

In the team's first scrimmage on Aug. 12, Clark connected on 17-of-23 passes for 163 yards and two touchdowns. He followed that up with another solid showing in Saturday's second scrimmage of the fall, completing 11-of-16 passes for 107 yards and three touchdowns.

"Jadrian's playing as good as he's ever played since we've been here," Hill said. "In our first scrimmage, he completed 74 percent of his passes, and that was with three drops, right in the guys' hands, so he's playing at a really high level. I'm super proud of him."

Clark seemed almost embarrassed by coach Hill's praise, which he quickly deflected to others.

"It was pretty good," Clark said of his strong scrimmage showing. "The line was blocking great, and the receivers and tight ends were getting open. Coach (Fesi) Sitake was calling some great plays.

"All the guys around me are doing a great job, and it's just making my life a lot easier. I just have to drop back and get the ball to the open guy. I expect us to definitely be better offensively than we were last year."

There were other aspects of the team's play that Hill has been impressed with.

"I like the way we can run the ball with the ones," he said. "We've got a good solid offensive line; I like the running backs, I've said that from the get-go, I like them. And I've been really, really impressed with our tight end group, so offensively that's been a huge positive.

"And then defensively, we've got some key injuries. We've got some key guys out right now, we need to get them back. When they're there, I thought the defense was playing at a really high level as well, but we've got to get those guys back because some days the defense doesn't look very good.

"We expect to get everyone back (from their injuries) right now," the Wildcats' coach said. "It's just typical camp injuries that you get. In a way, I think we've got to get tougher. We've got to be able to battle through and know the difference between being hurt and being injured. And if they're hurt, they need to keep practicing and playing. We've still some toughness in some of those guys we've got to get better at."

Weber State, which went 6-5 overall and 5-3 in the Big Sky Conference last season, opens the 2016 campaign on Thursday, Sept. 1, at Utah State.

WSU CAMP NOTES: In Saturday's final scrimmage of fall camp, Clark had a 6-yard touchdown pass to Tui Satuala, a 25-yard TD toss to Cameron Livingston and a 9-yard scoring pass to Drew Batchelor. Satuala led the receivers with three catches for 50 yards. Batchelor and freshman Martrel Holmes each had three catches. … Cory Thomson closed out the scrimmage with a 48-yard touchdown run, and freshman David Jones had a 12-yard TD run for a WSU offense that had more than 120 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns and a field goal. … Junior quarterback Stefan Cantwell threw for 105 yards.

EMAIL: rhollis@desnews.com