Hilltoppers hit the practice field for first time under Head Coach Tyson Helton

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Bowling Green, Ky. (WBKO) --- For the first time in Tyson Helton’s 19-year coaching career, he wasn’t coaching a position, correcting a quarterbacks eyes, or making sure his receivers were running routes to perfection.

Instead, he was the observer watching from the center of Feix Field in Tuesday night as his Hilltoppers went through the first of 15 spring practices under his direction.

For the first-year head coach, it was a welcome albeit frustrating change of pace at times.

“I had to catch myself,” Helton said. “I kept peaking over there at the offense too much. I have to make sure I get down there on the defensive side of the field too. It was good, and we finished on time so I guess day one was good.”

For the players, it was the conclusion of a long winter conditioning program that has them up as early as 5 a.m. working out with the strength and conditioning staff. Based on Helton’s observations through the first day, however, that work is already paying dividends.

“I thought it was a really good practice. The guys were fired up. It was really organized so my hats off to the coaches and players who bounced around. I saw a lot of really good things out here today, so we have to keep building off of that.”

Though the Hilltoppers return nearly every starter on offense and six from last year’s starting defense, Helton, as with most new staffs, emphasized that every starting position is up for grabs under his direction.

“Every position (is up for competition). I told the players, ‘No one has a starting job. You’ve got to earn your job every single day. You’ve got to prove yourself every single day.’ That’s life in general. These guys have to come out here and show (the coaches) they deserve to be the starter.”

WKU will return to the practice field on Thursday, and all practices this spring are open to the public. Spring practices conclude with the annual Red vs. White Spring Game set for April 13 at 2 p.m.

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