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Ogden • When a ship is suddenly without its captain, the crew can either hang together or start a mutiny.

In the case of the Weber State football program, it appears to be all hands together.

"This is not about me … this is about the team," said Jody Sears, promoted from defensive coordinator Thursday to interim head coach.

It will be his first time as a collegiate head coach.

Sears replaced John L. Smith, who stepped down Monday to become the interim head coach at Arkansas.

"We've got an awesome opportunity to grow these kids and come together as a football team," said Sears, calling the events of the last couple of days a life lesson and a teaching moment.

"We're going to move forward from this, we're just going to build on it," said Brian Jankowski, a Weber State senior and co-captain.

"All I know, I still have the same preseason goals," Jankowski continued. "And so do the coaches. Our players still have the same preseason goals."

Sears, 44, spent the past three seasons as the co-defensive coordinator at Washington State before joining Smith's staff in January. He was officially hired in April.

Sears has extensive experience in the Big Sky Conference, having spent five seasons (2003-07) as the defensive coordinator at Eastern Washington.

He has also coached at Army (2000-2002).

"When I met with [Sears], it was always about the program, the players," said Weber State athletic director Jerry Bovee, whose intentions were to always hire from the existing staff. "It was never, 'I want this job.' "

Sears, who will hire a special teams coach, will have an opportunity to earn the position permanently. He will have the bulk of the Weber State team that finished 5-6 in 2011, 5-3 in the Big Sky.

"Expect the unexpected in the coaching profession," Sears said. "Things never happen like to you expect them to. Things change. This is about change. That's how you grow."

Interim Weber State football coach Jody Sears

Played at Washington State as a receiver under former Weber State head coach Mike Price. He graduated from WSU in 1991.

Sears and his wife, Molly, are the parents of five children.

Sears spent the past three seasons as the co-defensive coordinator at Washington State.

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