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It’s now a Mental game

On Feb. 11, Weber State University’s head football coach Jay Hill announced that former Notre Dame College head coach Mickey Mental would fill the offensive coordinator position left open by former Wildcat coach Matt Hammer.

Mickey Mental, the newest addition to the Weber State University's coaching staff for the football team. (Weber State Athletics)
Mickey Mental is the newest addition to Weber State University's coaching staff for the football team. Photo credit: Weber State Athletics

After a few months in the job, Mental has had the opportunity to become familiar with Hill, the team and the goals for this season.

An Ohio native, Mental was drawn to Weber State by the opportunity to work with Hill and the talent on the Weber State’s offense.

“What he’s built here, when you can win games and compete for national championships, that’s something you want to be a part of,” Mental said. “He’s very knowledgeable of the game, relates well to his players and then obviously is very supportive of what the vision is offensively here under myself and the other offensive coaches.”

A former college quarterback himself, Mental averaged 116.5 yards per game and threw for 5 touchdowns during his senior year at Baldwin Wallace University. Mental says his experience on the field helps him develop strategies that work for his quarterbacks.

“I think you just understand what they go through on a rep-by-rep game situation,” Mental said. “Ultimately, that’s a huge ordeal for the offense is to play to the strengths of the quarterback.”

Bronson Barron (#10) rushes the pass as Portland State's defense works for the tackle. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)
Bronson Barron, 10, rushes the pass as Portland State's defense works for the tackle during the game on Nov. 6, 2021. Photo credit: Isabella Torres

Last year, the Wildcats threw for 2,379 yards and 14 touchdowns. This year’s group consists of returning quarterbacks Bronson Barron, Creyton Cooper and Kylan Weisser along with Butte College recruit Brian Harper.

“All of them are very good students of the game,” Mental said. “They understand the importance of the quarterback position, understanding that taking care of the ball is premium.”

As former Mountain East conference coach of the year, Mental’s offense at Notre Dame college featured a dominant run game that was second in the conference. At Weber State, Mental will take over an offense that produced 1,642 rushing yards last season with 475 yards coming from leading rusher Dontae McMillan.

“That’s a very talented deep room,” Mental said. “I think anytime you have as much talent as we do, the goal is to put those kids in situations; keep them fresh for a long playoff run but also get them in a rhythm.”

Mental is eager to work with the Wildcats’ offensive line, led by All-Big Sky first team player Noah Atagi.

“Our O-line is a linchpin,” Mental said. “I’m blessed to have them up front because it starts with them.”

The Wildcats will play two in-state schools early this season, facing off against Dixie State University and Utah State University. Mental’s offense will look to maintain the Wildcats’ win streak against the Trailblazers and to beat the Aggies for the first time since 1978.

“The thing that we try to do and we stress is just focusing on ourselves offensively,” Mental said. “Having our standard is more important than to see who we’re playing.”

Getting ready for the fall season, Mental understands the expectations that Hill has for this team.

“Under Jay Hill, it’s about competing to win the Big Sky first and foremost and then competing in the national tournament,” Mental said. “We’ve got great players and great kids that want to work and are in it for the right reasons.”

Weber State will open the fall season against Western Oregon University on Sept. 1 at 6 p.m.

Wildcat's Creyton Cooper (#8) hands off the ball against the Viking's defense. (Bella Torres / The Signpost)
Wildcat Creyton Cooper, 8, hands off the ball against the Vikings defense on Nov. 6, 2021. Photo credit: Isabella Torres
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About the Contributor
Simon Mortensen
Simon Mortensen, Sports Editor