Bowling Green, Ky. - The sound of pads hitting rang through Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium Wednesday afternoon as the Western Kentucky University football team practiced in shoulder pads for the first time during 2009 preseason camp. The Hilltoppers will again practice in pads and shorts on Thursday before working out in full pads for the first time on Friday.
"You could see some different things with the pads on - especially how physical we were able to come out and get after it," said Hilltopper head coach David Elson. "I thought we handled it well. We're still installing quite a bit, so some of the young guys are spinning, but we definitely made some good progress, and I expect it to be even sharper tomorrow."
After going through a number of position drills and shell work, the full team drills at the end of the workout saw WKU working on long yardage situation, and Elson was able to see some of his newcomers continue to make strides.
"We thought all along we had some contributors among our group of newcomers, and there was no question today that some guys showed that capability," Elson said. "We've got guys on both sides of the ball that are exciting to watch. I'm definitely pleased with the early evaluation of our newcomers athleticism and skill level, now we just have to continue coaching them up and moving them along with everyone else."
WKU, the newest of 120 Football Bowl Subdivision Members, is eligible for a post-season bowl berth and the Sun Belt Conference championship in 2009. The Hilltoppers open the 2009 season at Tennessee on Sept. 5 at 11:21 a.m. (CDT), and opens the home portion of its schedule the following week against South Florida at 6:30 p.m.
WKU's 511-337-30 all-time record in 90 seasons of football equates to a .600 winning percentage, ranking 26th among all 120 Division I Football Bowl Subdivision schools and tops in the Sun Belt Conference. WKU's 948 APR in football is also higher than all other Sun Belt Conference programs.