Western Kentucky put on full pads for the first time this evening, but didn’t actually do any real live hitting.
That said, coach Willie Taggart was excited with the overall effort.
“Guys were flying around the entire time and I don’t think that meter came down one bit,” Taggart said. “We had great effort from both sides. The defense is still flying around, we’ve got some things to work out offensively – but they did some good things, too.
“Overall it was a practice with a purpose and guys came out and made the best of the day.”
Through the first three practices this spring, the Hilltopper defense has had the offenses number most of the time.
Which isn’t uncommon.
The passing game has looked a tad shaky at times with both Kawaun Jakes and Brandon Doughty, but there are a few factors to take into account there as well.
First being the fact that the Hilltopper receiving corps isn’t at full strength – and it’s not exactly deep to begin with. Marcus Vasquez is sitting out this spring to recover from injury and Courtney Dalcourt is in his first few days as a college receiver – so he’s still learning.
Secondly, the WKU defensive backfield seems rather legit at this point. WKU has all four starters back, and every backup save Mark Santoro. Add in redshirting sophomore Jon Dowling – and it’s not exactly a squad to sneeze at.
WKU will got through live hitting for the first time Saturday.
“I want to see if our defense wraps up, I don’t want any missed tackles,” Taggart said. “I want to see guys flying around to the ball and I want us to execute on offense. You’re going to get hit and you’re going to get tackled – and that’s big because if we’ve got a guy that’s afraid of contact then I don’t want him to be on this football team. It’s a collision sport, if you can’t deal with that, I don’t want you out here.
“Everybody’s an All-American with just a helmet – when the pads go on we’ll see. I told the defense I was going to let the dogs out of their cage. Before we had them locked in a gate and they’d just bark at you when you walked by. Now we’ll open up the gate and find out what kind of dogs we’ve got. If they’ll just keep barking or go out there and bite somebody. I’m fired up.”
– Also, I spoke with Courtney Dalcourt today about his return to the practice field after two ACL surgeries. I’ll have a story on his journey and what he hopes to accomplish moving forward in Monday’s Daily News.