Bowling Green, Ky. — It was a full day on the Hill Tuesday for the Western Kentucky University football team. The team took part in its annual media day — the first for the Hilltoppers as one of the 120 members of the Football Bowl Subdivision (Division I-A) — then took the field for a mid-afternoon practice which included the first mini scrimmage of fall camp.
Five members of the WKU senior class — offensive lineman Greg Ryan, wide receiver Jesse Quinn, defensive lineman Dan Cline, linebacker Ben Sowders and defensive back Marcus Minor — joined head coach David Elson, offensive coordinator Kevin Wright and special teams coordinator Mike Dietzel in fielding questions form the largest group of media to assemble for a Hilltopper media day.
Following their off-the-field obligations, WKU took to the field for their only practice of the day, ending the workout with a controlled situational scrimmage. The Hilltoppers ran nearly 50 plays during the live action, with the offense starting drives at their own 30 yard line, while also working on third-and-long and redzone situations.
Senior David Wolke led two drives from the 30 with the first team, accounting for the only score with a one-yard run on the second drive. In all on the two drives, Wolke rushed four times, while also connecting on all three of his pass attempts for 30 yards. Running backs Bobby Rainey and Stephen Willis carried the load on two drives for the second team behind quarterback Brandon Smith, combining for 21 yards on five carries.
The defense controlled the third-and-long plays, allowing just two first downs, and creating a turnover thanks to a Cline interception. Overall during the scrimmage, Darvis McBride led the Topper defense with five tackles — including one for loss —while Braxston Miller and Taurean Smith picked up four tackles each. Mark Santoro also accounted for a redzone stop near the end of the scrimmage with an interception.
The offense scored on four of their five redzone drives, getting a 32-yard field goal from Tanner Siewert, a 24-yard field goal from Zac Minturn and a four-yard TD run by Wolke. The first-team offense was put in a one-play, game-winning situation from the nine yard line at the end of the scrimmage, with Wolke hitting Wenquel Graves in the back of the endzone for a score.
“I thought we had bright spots on both sides of the ball today,” said Elson. “Our running game got going, but we also take a lot of pride in our defense having a lot of movement and getting some tackles for loss — which we did today. So in all it felt like we had a good balance out there.”
WKU will get back out on the field for both a morning and evening practice on Wednesday, then take part in another afternoon mini scrimmage at the conclusion of Thursday’s workout.