Hilltoppers to scrimmage Saturday; program will unveil new uniforms

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The Western Kentucky football team will hold its first major scrimmage of fall camp starting at 9:30 a.m. Saturday inside Houchens-Smith Stadium.

The Hilltoppers will be looking to further solidify the depth chart as the team’s opening game against Rice on Sept. 1 looms in the distance.

“These next two weeks are important,” WKU coach Jeff Brohm said. “We’ll have to get better and make sure that our guys get as much experience as they can. Then we’ll narrow it down and get ready for Rice. But they’re working hard at this point and I like the progress I’ve seen.”

Brohm will also be looking to name a starting quarterback soon, if not as early as after Saturday’s scrimmage. At the program’s annual media day Aug. 3 the third-year coach said he hoped to have the No. 1 QB in place 7-10 days into fall camp – and Saturday marks the 11th day and 12th practice.

Redshirt-junior Mike White, a transfer from South Florida, and senior Tyler Ferguson, a transfer from Louisville, have been getting the majority of reps with the first-team offense.

“We don’t think about that,” WKU senior center Max Halpin said, candidly, earlier in the week. “We just come in everyday, work our hardest and work for the running backs and get adjusted to that. We don’t think about the quarterbacks.”

Western Kentucky, now a 17-point favorite over Rice, is scheduled to have an off day Sunday before two closed practices Monday.

“We talk about it a lot – we gotta take the field with a game mentality, with intensity, with some fire and passion and some desire and drive to want to do well,” Brohm said. “And if we don’t do well, we need to get mad at ourselves and make sure we get it corrected and we don’t point the fingers and we don’t act like it’s not our fault, we take responsibility and use it to improve.

“But I think our guys are working hard, we just gotta continue to stay on it.

Here are a few other notes from WKU’s preseason practices:

• Redshirt-sophomore cornerback DeAndre Farris is out indefinitely with a hamstring injury.

• Redshirt-senior Joe Manley left Thursday’s practice with an apparent left leg injury. His status has not been officially updated.

• Senior tight end Steve Donatell, a graduate transfer from Wake Forest, has yet to fully participate in on-field, team activities.

• Thursday, redshirt-sophomore quarterback Drew Eckels took the majority of snaps with the first-team offense.

• Those in attendance for WKU’s opener Sept. 1 will notice new banners highlighting the team’s Miami Beach Bowl win and 2015 Conference USA championship located on the padding in the end zone under the stadium's scoreboard.

New uniforms to be shown Saturday

Western Kentucky’s annual football fan fest is scheduled for 2-4 p.m. Saturday at Diddle Arena.

Highlighted by an autographs and interactive stations with the Hilltopper football team, the event will also include inflatables, face painting, balloon artists and more. The first 500 fans in the door can also take advantage of free ice cream and free popcorn.

The program will unveil new uniforms for the 2016 season as well.
 
Landshark Shredding will also be on hand to help Hilltopper fans, “Shred for Red”, where patrons can bring an opposing team’s piece of apparel to shred and receive a free ticket to a home football game of their choosing.
 
The annual “NFL Punt, Pass and Kick” event will take place inside Houchens-Smith.
 
— Follow WBKO sportswriter Chad Bishop on Twitter @MrChadBishop