Weber gets shot with Broncos |

Weber gets shot with Broncos

At 6-foot-4, 226 pounds, Zach Weber doesn’t measure up to most major college football defensive ends. That isn’t going to deter the Gardnerville product coming into his first season at Boise State University.

Weber, a 1997 Douglas High School graduate, comes to Boise State as a junior college transfer from Sacramento City College. The son of Camp Richardson Resort General Manager Mike Weber registered 12 quarterback sacks last fall during a season when he was named Sacramento City’s most valuable defensive player and was a unanimous first team all-conference defensive end.

“I’m anxious to get the pads on and see where I’m at,” Weber said before leaving home to report to Boise. “I was up there for four weeks earlier this summer to get back in shape. I’m excited; I wanted to be about 10 pounds bigger, but I’ll be all right.

“My dad says, ‘You at 220 is like most people at 250.’ My speed is the thing I have to rely on. If I let one of those 300-pounders get into me, nine times out of 10 they’re going to get the better of me.”

Weber is joining a veteran defense that has three returning starters on the line, including ends Andy Bennett (6-2, 253) and Mike Maloy (6-3, 234).

“They call them the blue collar players. They don’t get a lot of publicity, they just get the job done,” said Weber, who lived with Bennett earlier this summer.

The Broncos are obviously looking forward to a successful season, according to Weber.

“It’s hard to tell until you get started, but from what I’ve seen and heard, it should be a good season,” Weber said. “This is the first time in four years they’ve had the same head coach coming back in.”

Dirk Koetter returns after leading the Broncos to a 6-5 record in 1998, the school’s first winning season at the Division I level. Boise State finished the season ranked 24th nationally in total offense and played for the Big West Conference title in the final game of the regular season – a 36-35 overtime loss to Idaho.

One of the top returnees coming into this season is quarterback Bart Hendricks, a junior from Hug High School in Reno who earned honorable mention all-conference recognition in 1998. Another is middle linebacker Bryan Johnson, who has been second-team all-conference each of the last two seasons.

The team as a whole is a strength, according to Weber.

“It’s a team at Boise,” he said. “Everybody is real close. They do everything together. There are no big heads or guys who think they’re better than anybody else.

“And there’s so much support for the team up there. Everywhere you go in Boise, everyone wants to know how the season’s going to be.”

Weber says he is looking forward to Boise State’s Sept. 4 season opener against UCLA, a 6 p.m. contest at the Rose Bowl.

“That’s going to a special feeling coming out of the tunnel and being out there in front of 100,000 people,” Weber said. “The most I’ve ever played in front of was probably 3,000.”

An interesting twist to the season opener is that one of Weber’s former teammates from Douglas, Chris Griffith, will be suited up as a kicker for UCLA.

Boise State hosts Nevada on Oct. 23. The Broncos absorbed a 52-24 defeat against Nevada last Oct. 24 at Mackay Stadium in Reno.

Weber knows he has some climbing to do to. Then again, he managed to climb through some difficult times before with some help from his old coach from Douglas, Mike Rippee.

“When things got tough (at Sacramento City College), he told me not to be discouraged and to keep at it,” Weber said. “And he’s helped me get ready for Boise. He’s been at this level before (Rippee was a running back at Nevada) and he knows what it takes. Other than my dad, he’s (Rippee) been the single biggest influence on my life.”

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