BOWLING GREEN, Ky. - The WKU football team will have its first full scrimmage of the spring season on Saturday, beginning around 10:30 AM at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium. Before the live session, the Hilltoppers took advantage of the best weather of the spring to this point, practicing for the eighth time Friday afternoon.
"We have made improvements," WKU head coach Bobby Petrino said following practice. "We have made improvement on how to practice and the tempo that we are going to practice at. We are starting to learn the schemes better. But we still need to be better in the details of our technique, the details of our position and playing hard all of the time. We play hard at times, and then fatigue gets us and we lose concentration. Tomorrow will be a good test. We will have a good, long scrimmage and get them tired. It will be hot out, so it will be our first time in the heat. We will see who can do what they are coached to do when they are tired.”
WKU had a half-scrimmage last Saturday afternoon, but tomorrow's full scrimmage will be the first time all spring that the Hilltoppers will get full live action in. The live session will be a good opportunity for Petrino and the coaches to get a good look at just how far the team has come in three weeks of spring practice.
“We always kind of make it as game-like as possible," Petrino said of the scrimmage. "We will move the ball around and have certain parts of it where the defense has to play its base defense and parts where they can blitz and kind of mix it up a little bit. I am not really interested in the schemes. What I want to see are the players. I want to evaluate the players and see how they do their technique, how they run to the ball, how they block people, how they get off blocks. It is really an evaluation of our players.”
Plenty of eyes will be on the quarterbacks on Saturday, as Brandon Doughty, James Mauro and Damarcus Smith will look to apply the knowledge learned through the first eight practices and apply it in a game situation.
“Things are going good," Doughty said. "We are making strides in the right direction every day. I’m just trying to learn this offense and perfect the offense, not just learn it.”
“I know I have gotten better," Mauro said. "Damarcus [Smith] is a young quarterback and it is his first real spring and he is making real strides from day one. Brandon [Doughty] is a veteran. We have been here for a few years, so as a group I definitely feel like we are getting better. You can see every day and it is only going up from here.”
Smith is in his first spring with WKU, and is taking advantage of learning not only from the coaches, but also the other two quarterbacks.
“It has been great for me with Brandon [Doughty] and [James] Mauro already having years of experience, especially Brandon being the veteran of our group," Smith said. "Those guys, they help me every day. It is just a genuine relationship that we have built from having to be with each other every day. I get to be able to listen to them every day and they teach me little things. As a player and as a quarterback you can still learn a lot from the players, rather than the coaches. They actually have that game experience of actually being in a game. It is easy to pick off of them and pick their brains a little bit.”
Saturday's scrimmage will be open to the public. Petrino also announced on Friday that WKU basketball student-athlete Kene Anyigbo has joined the WKU football team.
“[Kene Anyigbo] actually contacted us the last part of basketball season and had some of our coaches go over and watch him practice," Petrino said. "He had talked with his mother and he had some friends that had played in the NFL. We talked to him about playing football and there was interest on his part, so when basketball season was over, we got in contact again and he decided he wanted to give it a chance and see where he is at. We certainly are in favor of it, just to see how he does. It has been a long time since he has played football, but he is really a great young man and very, very talented. We will see how it plays out. I am excited to see how the next couple of weeks work out for him.”
Saturday will wrap up the third week of spring practice. WKU is scheduled to have another scrimmage on Saturday, April 13 ahead of the April 20 Spring Game at 2:00 PM (CT). The Spring Game is free and is open to the public.
Season tickets for WKU football are on sale now. Fans can visit WKUSports.com, or call 1-800-5 BIG RED to secure season tickets for the 2013 season. Full quotes are attached to this e-mail. Recaps, videos and pictures can be found at WKUSports.com.