Practice Report: Hilltoppers Open Week Three of Spring Ball with 5:45 AM Practice on Thursday

By: Kyle Allen - WKU Athletic Media Relations
By: Kyle Allen - WKU Athletic Media Relations

BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - For the second time this spring the WKU football team was in full practice mode before the sun came out, as the Hilltoppers started week three of spring ball with a 5:45 AM practice Thursday morning at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.

The practice was the seventh of the spring for WKU, and marked the second consecutive week that the Hilltoppers have opened a practice week with a 5:45 AM workout.

“This is our seventh practice, and we have come miles from a week ago," WKU defensive coordinator Nick Holt said following practice. "We still have miles to go, but we are improving. We have a lot of stuff in, and the kids are handling it and picking it up pretty well and we just have to keep practicing. It is good that we still have eight more practices, but in the last week we have made some improvement. We have a long way to go, though.”

Holt's defense has benefited during the spring from a veteran group at the linebacker position, as WKU returns all major contributors at that position from last year's team, including linebacker Andrew Jackson. Jackson led WKU in tackles for the second consecutive year in 2012, tallying 122 stops, which included 17.5 tackles for loss.

“Andrew is a big, physical kid," Holt said. "I think he is learning the defense like all of them, and he will keep improving. What Andrew needs to do is to keep on learning to play fast every down and we will be just fine.”

Joining Andrew Jackson will be senior linebacker Xavius Boyd, who ranked third on the team in 2012 with 79 total tackles. Boyd and Jackson will anchor a deep and experienced unit at the linebacker position in 2013.

“We have a good group of linebackers," Holt said. "There is a lot of experience there with four or five guys that have played a lot of football for us. We have to keep learning the packages and keep learning how to practice hard all of the time. We need to pick up our tempo, especially in some of our group periods, but we are making progress”

The Hilltoppers will practice at 4:00 PM (CT) on Friday, before taking part in a full live scrimmage on Saturday beginning at 10:00 AM. All practices, including the scrimmage, will be open to the public. The annual Spring Game will take place April 20 at 2:00 PM. The game is free to the public.

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