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Ogden • Despite a brief respite from the heat of August, temperatures were once again in the 90s Wednesday as Weber State counts down the days until the season opener at Boston College.
Defensive line coach Jason Kaufusi concluded practice with a devilish bit of torture that had his youthful Wildcats yelling and laughing with pain. His players lay on their backs, legs out and feet suspended at least six inches off the turf.
The line will be tested right off the bat Sept. 4.
"We're looking to prepare like it is any other game," Kaufusi said. "Regardless of it being Boston College or Northern Arizona. We're right on time; we're right where we want to be."
Boston College returns four starters from last year's massive offensive line. Running back Montel Harris benefited from the Eagles' O-line. As a sophomore, Harris exploited big holes for 1,457 yards and 14 touchdowns.
"I see where we're at now, and I think we can compete with the best of them," Kaufusi said. "But we're far from where we want to be."
Weber State's defensive line roster features 10 freshmen and three sophomores, with only one senior, Sam Fenn. Much is expected of juniors Pete Rolf, a transfer from Ball State and Kaufusi's nephew, and Gabe Bowers.
Overall, the young Wildcats have had plenty of contributions from the "kids," including freshman defensive end Josh Tenove.
So far this preseason, media predictions for Weber State have ranged from a fifth-place finish in the Big Sky Conference to a top 20 ranking. The BSC polls had the Wildcats picked for fourth.
Recently, the Football Championship Subdivision Coaches' poll had WSU ranked No. 18.
"That just means we're an unknown quantity," Weber State coach Ron McBride said. "We've been to the playoffs the last two years, and we have a lot of new faces."
The poll had Montana at No. 2. Eastern Washington (14), Northern Arizona (23) and Montana State (24) were also ranked, which means a stumble could mean the difference between a FCS berth or looking to 2011.
"I don't pay attention to that stuff," Kaufusi said. "Where are they getting their information?"