Weber State Wildcats embrace change, excited for 2014 football season

Published: Monday, Aug. 4 2014 11:45 p.m. MDT

Weber State Wildcats wide receiver Shaydon Kehano (85) catches a touchdown against Idaho State during Big Sky play in Ogden Saturday, Oct. 15, 2011.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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OGDEN — After watching his Wildcats post a dismal 4-19 record over the previous two seasons, Weber State AD Jerry Bovee had seen enough to know changes needed to be made.

As a result, ex-head coach Jody Sears was let go after last year, and Jay Hill was hired in his place. At the beginning of fall camp, Hill and the staff he assembled earned praise from wide receiver Shaydon Kehano.

“This new coaching staff has done a great job,” senior star wide receiver Shaydon Kehano said.

Since Sears’ departure just nine short months ago, Hill has made quite the impact on WSU’s football program and its players.

“(Coach Hill's) mentality (is so different),” Kehano said. “Everyone is confident; everyone is excited; and everyone is just ready for this year. Coach Hill and our coaching staff has done a great job and we are all excited as players.”

Despite losing key starters on both sides of the ball, the ‘Cats fully expect to fill those holes and compete in their conference. However, Hill mainly wants to focus on improving from last year.

“The biggest thing is improvement,” Hill said of his expectations. “Improvement on the scoreboard; improvement in the wins and losses; we just want to see improvement.”

WSU will heavily rely on the senior leadership of star running back Bo Bolen, preseason all-conference CB Deon’tae Florence, and breakout WR Kehano to help the Wildcats attempt to earn their first winning season since 2010-11.

“There has never been a good team without good leadership,” Hill said of his seniors. “So I expect those senior leaders to step up, to be the guys that are setting the tone as far as the effort we are giving and also the discipline we are showing. I really expect a lot out of those guys and rely on them heavily.”

With the departure of QB Austin Chipoletti, Weber State is now in the midst of a quarterback battle that appears to be deadlocked.

Kehano isn’t losing too much sleep wondering who he is going to be catching balls from this season, however, seeing as he has developed a chemistry with both of the gunslingers.

“They (Jadrian Clark, Billy Green) are both doing a great job,” Kehano said. “Honestly, I don’t know who is going to take the starting job, but camp will decide that. It’s all up to the coaches. I feel very comfortable with both of them, so we’ll see what happens.”

The Wildcats will look to wrap up a successful camp before traveling to Tempe, Arizona, to take on Arizona State of the Pac-12. WSU and ASU are set to kick off Aug. 28 at 8:30 p.m. at Sun Devil Stadium.

Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sportswriter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.

Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724

EMAIL: rlove@deseretnews.com

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