Football season to begin Saturday

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(Photo by Tyler Brown)
Quarterback Austin Chipoletti attempts a pass in a scrimmage. Chipoletti will be one of two quarterbacks who will play in WSU’s home opener against Stephen F. Austin State University.

The Weber State University football team will begin the 2013 season tomorrow night, facing Stephen F. Austin State University. The game will start at 6 p.m. at Stewart Stadium.

The game will be the first home season-opener for the Wildcats in five years. It also marks the first time the schools have met on the football field. An agreement was made in 2012 that each team would face each other on their respective home fields, at WSU in 2013 and at SFASU in 2014.

SFASU is located in Nacogdoches, Texas, and its school mascot is the lumberjack. The team plays in the Southland Conference. Its head coach, J.C. Harper, is in his seventh season at SFASU, with a record of 34-36, including a 5-6 record last season.

This marks the fifth game WSU has had against a Southland Conference opponent. Its last opponent from that conference was McNeese State University, which the Wildcats lost to last season by the score of 35-21.

Although this is a new opponent to WSU, head coach Jody Sears and his staff have been studying the team’s film and said they feel confident about what to expect.

“Stephen F. Austin, their past history, they have been an open, lot-of-air, lot-of-pass concept,” Sears said. “They will be extremely talented, coming from Texas; football is king down there. They will be very skilled. They have a veteran quarterback and a veteran offensive line coming back. They will throw it about 80 or 90 percent of the time.”

SFASU’s offense finished second in the country in passing yards last season, averaging 385.5 passing yards a game. The defense also looks to be a tough unit. The squad added two defensive ends this past offseason, one from Baylor University and another from Texas A&M University.

Sears made the announcement Saturday that he will have two quarterbacks playing in the game. The starter will be fifth-year senior Jordan Adamczyk, who has started only one game for WSU in his career. True freshman Austin Chipoletti, who comes to WSU from Jacksonville, Fla., will also see playing time.

“Is it ideal? No,” Sears said. “But I like it because they both bring something different to the table. Jordan can sit back in the pocket and throw it a little bit. He can also manage the run game and put us in the position that we need to be. Another thing Austin brings to the table is his escape ability to prolong plays. That’s something that’s really hard to coach against.”

Both players received reps with the first team in Saturday’s scrimmage. The wide receivers on the team don’t seem to have a problem with two quarterbacks under center.

20130824practice (Tyler Brown)
(Photo by Tyler Brown)
Receiver Justin Holliday brings in a pass in a scrimmage. The season-opening game will be held at 6 p.m at Stewart Stadium.

“Jordan has a really strong arm and is a really good pocket passer,” said receiver Cody Raymond. “Austin Chipoletti is really athletic and really fast. He also has a strong arm and has a likable personality. Both are easy to look up to and easy to follow.”

All of this week, offensive coordinator Robin Pflugrad has been serving his suspension for violations of NCAA procedures during his time at the University of Montana. But the football staff and team said they aren’t worried about his absence in this game. Pflugrad worked with the team during the offseason and already did his planning for the first game.

“He’s going to have a play for every little play and scenario against that first game,” said defensive captain Anthony Morales at the beginning of training camp. “We’re not even thinking about that other stuff.”

Steve Morton, WSU’s associate head coach, has been serving as offensive coordinator during the week and will also handle the duties in the game.

Sears said he knows SFASU will be a tough matchup, but he is also excited to face an opponent that can challenge the team and let the players know where they’re at right off the bat.

“They will be similar to McNeese State,” Sears said. “Obviously they are a playoff contender. That’s what we have been talking to our kids about. If you want to be a playoff team, these are the kind of outfits that you have to beat.”