Dave Arslanian may have moved a few miles up the road, but he left behind plenty for his Weber State replacement to work with.
Jerry Graybeal has taken over the Wildcat football team after a successful stint as an assistant coach at Eastern Washington. And after welcoming his squad to campus Sunday, he started an intense session of two-a-day workouts.We're anxious and ready to get things going," Graybeal said before practices started.
Of course, making the transition from Eastern Washington assistant to Weber State head coach a tad easier is none other than "Mr. Everything" Scott Shields.
Shields, the All-American kicker/punter/safety/etc. for the Wildcats, is back for his senior season and would like to add Big Sky Champion to his already-impressive list of credentials and awards.
"Coach Arslanian did not leave the cupboards bare," Graybeal said of his expected group of some 90-plus athletes. "We have a great, senior-laden team returning."
With 17 interceptions to his credit as well as a career scoring average of 7.6 points per game, Shields is a candidate for the Buck Buchanan and Walter Payton awards as the nation's top defensive and overall player, respectively.
Shields is being switched from his position of free safety to strong safety in order to become more involved in the defense, Graybeal said. "It won't be that drastic of a change for Scott," he said. "About the only difference he'll see is that he will now be covering tight ends and running backs, more than wide receivers. He's the robber in our system and we look for him to pick off some passes for us this season."
But Shields is not the only veteran coming back.
Senior quarterback Steve Buck is back, after starting eight games a year ago. The UCLA transfer threw for 2,393 yards and 15 touchdowns to solidly place himself behind the center for the 1998 season.
David Stroshine is also back in his linebacker position, where he earned second team all Big Sky honors as a junior. He'll team with Adam Castro at linebacker. The duo combined for 208 tackles last year.
Weber State's practices will be held at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. until Aug. 29, when school begins.
The season opener for the Wildcats is a Thursday-night special against Montana Tech at Stewart Stadium in Ogden.