Spring practice is officially halfway over for Western Kentucky. With six practices remaining before the spring game, the Tops have made quite a bit of progress in implementing a new playbook and introducing new starters.
At this point, we know that wideouts Nacarius Fant and Lucky Jackson are going to be huge pieces of the passing game in 2017. WIth Fant sitting out the spring to let a torn ACL fully heal, Jackson is picking up even more snaps and starting to become something of a vocal leader on Mike Sanford Jr.’s offense.
Along with Jackson, we can also throw Jahcour Pearson’s name into the bowl of Tops to watch this year. Sadly, I doubt we’ll see any celebrations akin to this one during the season.
150 days until touchdown celebrations pic.twitter.com/nqj5jBTuyw— Barstool Western (@BarstoolWestern) April 5, 2017
On the defensive side of the ball, WKU is switching from a 4-3-4 to a 4-2-5 under new defensive coordinator Clayton White. So they’re swapping a linebacker for an extra defensive back. Luckily for them, the DBs look to be one of the Tops’ most experienced position groups. All five starting DB spots will likely be awarded to seniors and the returning DBs have a combined 81 starts between them.
Leverick Johnson looks like the guy at the nickel, Joe Brown and De’Andre Simmons will probably be the corners, and Juwan Gardner and Marcus Ward will fill the safety spots. As far as the budding relationship between White and the players, things seem to be going well on both sides with White admiring how quickly his players are absorbing the changes and the players appreciating his high energy style.
On Thursday, the Conference USA television schedule was released and it’s safe to say that fans are mostly disappointed. WKU does get two nationally-televised conference games. One against Old Dominion on October 20th and Middle Tennessee on November 17th, both on CBS Sports Network.
Friday night Hilltopper football games offer TV exposure, but create high school conflictshttps://t.co/7MC1x09ULz— Brad Stephens (@BradBGDN) April 9, 2017
The week culminated in a live scrimmage between the offense and the defense. WBKO outlined the details drive-by-drive on Friday.
Of note in the scrimmage, the O-Line looked like this: redshirt-senior Jimmie Sims at left tackle, redshirt-senior Brandon Ray at left guard, redshirt-junior Dennis Edwards at center, redshirt-freshman Tyler Witt at right guard and redshirt-senior Matt Nord at right tackle. The Tops have played with a few different O-Line groupings this spring after losing three starters from last year.
The second half of spring practice begins on Tuesday, April 11th.