Bowling Green, Ky. — For the first time in 2012, every member of the 2012 Western Kentucky University football team was on the field at the same time Thursday morning at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. After three days of rookie/veteran split practices, today marked the first time that head coach Willie Taggart and his staff can start evaluating this year’s squad as a whole.
Ahead of Schedule — With one more day of split practices on the original schedule for Thursday, it was thanks to the good reps of the first three days that prompted Taggart to bring the whole squad together for the first time a day early.
“I felt like we got some really good work in early in the week,” explained the third-year head coach prior to the workout. “Our young guys got a lot of reps that they wouldn’t normally get with everyone out here together. I have high expectations for this practice, and am excited to see how our young guys mesh in with the veterans.”
Jackson Taking The Next Step — There is no doubt that the one name everyone learned early in the 2011 Hilltopper season was that of middle linebacker Andrew Jackson. After earning first-team all-conference honors last year, and finding his name on a number of national award watch lists this summer, the junior has started to take that next step from simply a football player to a leader.
“When Andrew first got here, he was one of those guys that was quiet all the time, but now you see him more comfortable with his teammates and coaches and taking more of a leadership role,” said Taggart. “He really wants to build off of the success he had last year. Early yesterday morning he was up early running on the treadmill by himself. We talk about how ‘character is what you do when nobody is looking’, and that was a perfect example of a guy who wants to be big time.”
Tight Ends Ready To Do It All For the Offense — Perhaps one of the more evolving positions in the game of football right now is that of the tight end. Previously known just for their blocking skills, today’s tight end has become more athletic and a bigger part of the passing game. And with a talented stable ready to contribute for WKU, there are a number of guys at that position that will be able to make an impact in 2012.
“Those guys are veterans and take a lot of pride in their position,” said tight ends coach Stu Holt. “In this west coast offense it’s a fun position to play because we involve them so much in the passing game. We expect them to help us stretch the field, but also be solid run blockers, so they are involved in everything we do.”
“All of our tight ends bring something different to the table, and that’s what makes us a good group,” said senior Jack Doyle. “I feel like as a group we are very versatile and can help in a lot of different areas.”