Bowling Green, Ky. — Twenty days and 23 total practices are now in the books for the Western Kentucky University football team as it concluded 2012 fall camp Saturday morning at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
Entering his third year as head coach, Willie Taggart has praised the performance of his team throughout training camp, and that message remained the same as he was able to reflect on the entire three-week venture this morning.
“I thought we had a great camp. It was by far the best we’ve had since I’ve been back,” said Taggart. “Now it’s time to take all that hard work — not just in camp, but going all the way back to workouts in January — and go out and take care of business on Saturdays.”
As attention now turns to game week and the season opener against Austin Peay next Saturday (Sept. 1), the Hilltopper players elected their 2012 team captains Friday night. For the third straight year, senior tight end Jack Doyle was selected by his teammates as offensive team captain. Senior defensive lineman Jamarcus Allen was voted defensive captain, and junior punter Hendrix Brakefield was picked as special teams captain for the second straight year.
“There is no bigger reward than to be recognized by your peers,” said Taggart. “For Jack to be elected for the third time is remarkable. He’s been that guy for us for three years. He’s been consistent in what he does and the message he conveys to our team.”
Taggart was also able to give a surprise to a member of his squad Friday night, announcing that junior wide receiver Neil Wilson has earned a scholarship. A native of Tompkinsville, Ky., Wilson is in his third season on the Hill, spending his first two years as a walk-on and seeing a majority of his playing time on special teams. For Taggart, rewarding that hard work and dedication has been a point of emphasis since becoming a head coach.
“When I came back as head coach, I said if there were years when we could award a walk-on a scholarship, I wanted to do that,” explained Taggart. “We want our walk-on program to be something special, and we want to be able to recognize them for their hard work. Neil earned this scholarship. He’s worked really hard on and off the field, doing everything we’ve asked of him. And I think he can really help us out on the field this season.”