Bowling Green, Ky. - After weather postponed practice on Monday, the Western Kentucky University football team took the field for the second straight day on Wednesday.
Away from the field, preparations are already underway for the April 16 spring game at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. The entire football staff has been divided between the Red and White teams, with Walt Wells selected as the Red Team head coach and Lance Guidry guiding the White team. Each squad is allowed to sign an offensive and defensive free agent prior to Friday night's draft. Today, the White Team announced the signing of defensive lineman Jared Clendenin and quarterback Kawaun Jakes, while the Red Team signed defensive lineman Jamarcus Allen.
Following Wednesday's workout, head coach Willie Taggart discussed moving past the midpoint of spring practice, the process of picking teams for the spring game, and his relationship with former WKU president Dr. Dero Downing.
On the energy level of the team in week three of spring practice
"I'm impressed and excited that the energy level of our football team is the same as it was on day one of camp. Whenever we have energy out here we have really good practices, and we got that from both sides of the ball today - from both players and coaches. If I had to pick, it was a draw today between offense and defense. Our guys know the expectations, and they are going out and getting it done."
On the biggest difference between spring practice this season and last
"We have more guys here to have more competition. At the end of the day, that's the biggest difference from last year. Last year it was hard in the spring to find good competition at every position. We don't have it everywhere not, but we do a lot more places, thanks to last year's freshman being here and competing in the spring."
On the process of getting teams picked for the spring game
"This whole draft is a good thing for our football team. It's a good change-up from the normal routine of practicing. Usually in the past the game was just another practice, but we're going to draft teams again and have fun with it. I'm a big believer that all our guys want to get to the NFL, so we're going to do things around here with that in mind."
On the free-agency period
"It's been a lot of fun to watch because our coaches have to work hard to get these guys to sign with their teams, within the NCAA rules, so the staff is having fun with it. And for our players, they want to be picked and go #1 and have the coaches feeling good about them. For me it's great because I get to sit back, watch, and see what our coaches think of our players by the way they pick."
On the passing of former WKU president Dr. Dero Downing
"Dr. Downing was a mentor to me. He is a guy that is all WKU, and is one of the people who's footsteps you want to follow in. After every game last season, I got a phone call from Dr. Downing to let me know he was there and behind me. As a young head coach, that was great to get every Sunday, and spoke volumes about the type of man he was. This university has lost a great man."
WKU will get back out on the practice field on Friday afternoon, then go through a second controlled scrimmage Saturday morning. Only four full practices remain before the spring game.
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