Tyson Helton and WKU Football prepares for Spring Ball

Tuesday starts the beginning of the 2023 spring football schedule for the WKU Hilltoppers.
Published: Mar. 20, 2023 at 11:01 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Tuesday starts the beginning of the 2023 spring football schedule for the WKU Hilltoppers. Head Coach Tyson Helton spoke to the media ahead of the start of spring practice.

“I’m excited about this team, we’ve had a lot of pieces, to be honest with you, that aren’t with us anymore,” Helton said. “Lost a lot of guys, lost a lot of coaches, a lot of new faces in the locker room both coaches and players but I am excited about that and I think as we get out there for spring football and we see what we got, we’ll put all those pieces together and go make it happen.”

Helton is looking forward to watch Graduate quarterback Austin Reed continue to improve and lead the offense, along with the returning Malachi Corley and Dalvin Smith. Helton touched on the quarterback competition between the younger guys as they learn from Reed and helping them mature as players.

With the constant changing of the roster year in and year out, there’s also been a lot of coaching changes as well. But Helton does not view that as a bad thing as he says “with team success equals personal success.” And even with the huge amount of hot potato between coaches each season, Helton is excited for the opportunity to see how this new staff comes together.

“I lost seven of the original full time coaches, hired two more coaches who were here for about a month and then they got hired away again, so I’m up to nine now. But we finally got all the staff together, everything is ready to roll. Coach [Tyson] Summers, our defensive coordinator, because we lost a lot of coaches defensively, pretty much the whole staff, he’s done a fantastic job with assembling guys that fit his style and what he wants to do defensively. I think they fit our culture. So I’m looking forward to seeing those guys in action and coaching our players up.”

For the offense, it’s the third offensive coordinator in three years. Drew Hollingshead is the new offensive coordinator for the tops, who hasn’t officially been an OC yet, but got to do it during the bowl game. Helton says he’s a pedal to the metal kind of guy and a lot of the same terminology has been used, basically merging what he’s done and what the Tops have done over the past couple of seasons.

The tops will continue with Monday, Wednesday, Friday being the off the field work days and Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday will be on the field practice.

A key point for Helton during spring ball is to develop the depth on the team. He says a key part of spring ball is figuring out who the second team and third team guys are and what they can bring to the table. The tops lost their whole front seven on defense, lineman and linebackers, so he’s looking forward to seeing who will step up. He’s also using spring ball as a time to evaluate the new coaches too and how they are as coaches.

“When a coach leaves, I don’t get concerned, I know there’s another superstar out there that just needs an opportunity. Having the success we’ve had and being able to attract really good talent from a coaching perspective has been really fun for me. On the players side I enjoy that piece too. If a player leaves, there’s always another behind them that’s a superstar in the making so I’ve never worried about that.”

WKU Football starts its spring ball practices on Tuesday.