Bowling Green, Ky. — With one last workout prior to its first full scrimmage of the fall, the Western Kentucky University football team focused on two-minute drill and goal-line situations Friday morning at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
“We want to keep working on all possible game situations that can come up,” head coach David Elson said. “We have a plan we try to stick to as best we can. We hadn’t done a two-minute drill in full pads, and I wanted to get our goal-line package in defensively. I thought we got some good work done in a short period of time, I liked the intensity and our guys responded well.”
That intensity was most apparent at the close of drills in the goal-line situation. The offense started each possession with 1st-and-goal from the defense’s 3-yard line, and they needed all four downs three times to reach the end zone as Tyrell Hayden and Bobby Rainey scored on 1-yard runs, and David Wolke found Jared Holland in the left corner of the end zone.
“That was definitely the most spirited battle we’ve seen so far this year,” said Elson. “The bottom line is that you are going to be challenged in this game and in life. We challenged both sides of the ball, and I thought they each stepped up at times. I saw some good things from the team and believe we took a step in the right direction.”
As WKU concludes its second week of preseason camp, Elson believes that the team has survived the unusually warm — even by August’s standards — weather conditions. Temperatures have been above 100 degrees several times since the team was last off on Sunday.
“You feel sometimes that you are banged up, but I went through player by player last night and our guys are handling it well,” he said. “We’re not having a lot of cramping issues — the guys are listening to our trainers and keeping themselves hydrated. I’ve been real pleased with the way they have handled the heat and the intensity.”
The Hilltoppers will participate in a full scrimmage Saturday at Houchens Industries-Smith Stadium beginning at 10 a.m. (CDT). While the two-hour event will cover many of the situations that the coaches have put the team in over the last week, Elson wants to see the two-minute drill run with a full set of referees on the field and a four-minute drill in which the offense attempts to run out the clock with a lead while the defense’s job is to get the ball back via a turnover or downs.
“I want to see us execute our system with good technique and fundamentals,” said Elson. “We’ve got such good kids, they are trying too hard at times and pressing to make plays — that’s a good thing, you don’t want the other end of the spectrum where they don’t care. We have to understand on both sides of the ball though that, to an extent, you have to let the game come to you. They have to make the plays the offense and defense were designed to have them make, and trust the guy next to them.”