"Today was good. We went back and forth. I thought the offense came out excited and had some enthusiasm and had some juice out here and got after the defense early," said head coach Willie Taggart. "But throughout practice we had some situational scrimmages and I thought the defense responded well.
"It is kind of how spring has been going so far. It is going back and forth and I think that is a good thing. Both sides of the ball are getting better and we don't have one team dominating the other. I think that is a sign of getting better, but I don't want guys to be satisfied with that. When the offense scores I want the defense to be upset. No one should score on us. On offense when you don't get the first down you should be upset. Our guys are getting after it and you see both sides of the ball doing some really good things and we are getting better as a football team."
For the first time since Coach Taggart took over the program, nobody is wearing a yellow "no contact" jersey during practice. Taggart sees that as another sign of the depth that the program is starting to develop.
"We are getting away from the yellow jersey and we are building our football team now," explained Taggart. "We are starting to get the depth that we need and we don't need those yellow jerseys anymore because of depth. If a guy goes down, then we have someone to replace him and keep going so we are not concerned about injuries from that standpoint."
Backfield Starting To Develop
Perhaps the biggest question surrounding the program this spring is who would take over from Bobby Rainey at running back. When asked about those that have emerged on the offensive side of the ball, Taggart was quick to point out that a handful of guys have picked up the slack left by WKU's all-time leading rusher.
"I think our running backs are doing some good things, with Keshawn Simpson, Antonio Andrews and John Evans. I think those guys are stepping up to the challenge of replacing Bobby and doing some good things for us now. There is still a long way to go. I think the big thing for those guys is that we are not asking them to be Bobby Rainey. We want them to be who they are and help this football team. Those guys are starting to understand that and they are taking pride in that running back position."
Defense Continues To Respond
Now in its third semester under the guidance of coordinator Lance Guidry, consistency among the Hilltopper defense has been evident throughout the spring. After going through four different defensive coordinators in four years, having some familiarity at that position has been a huge plus for the defense.
"There is a lot of carryover from last fall. We still have some pieces to the puzzle to put together," said Guidry. "We lost a really good corner last year in Derrius Brooks and lost two really good ends. We are trying to get some depth at that position. We know we are going to get some more in the fall with two junior college kids. It is going good right now. There is a lot of carryover and a lot of verbiage and the communication is better. I think they are playing faster. We are still not perfect, but getting a lot better."
Super Hilltopper Weekend Drawing Near
The inaugural "Super Hilltopper Weekend" will be held at WKU April 14-15 and will feature exciting giveaways, prizes, contests and promotions all weekend long coinciding with home football, softball and track and field events on the Hill.
Highlighting the weekend will be the spring football game on April 14 (a 6 p.m. kickoff), a softball series against conference foe FIU and the Hilltopper Relays at the Charles M. Ruter Track and Field Complex, with the Hilltopper Relays featuring a special "Fastest Kid in Bowling Green" contest.
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