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WKU Spring Ball Week 4 Roundup

The experienced defense is looking solid with the Tops’ spring game quickly approaching.

NCAA Football: C-USA Championship-Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

As was noted last week, the team is adjusting reasonably well to the new offensive and defensive schemes implemented by Mike Sanford’s staff. One thing that Sanford wanted his offense to get better with was pace and clock management. WBKO had a nice recap of Sanford’s comments on that subject on Tuesday.

Just from what they were able to do last year, I think they have a good grasp of how to play fast paced football on offense. However, being ready for the two-minute drill always helps and definitely would have made a difference in the close losses to Vanderbilt and Louisiana Tech last year.

The coaching staff got a little more in depth about some of the changes they’re bringing to the Tops’ with the press on Wednesday. We’re definitely going to see a lot of variety in terms of packages from this team as they figure out what fits their personnel best. This week, they even flashed some I-formation, which hasn’t been a usual thing for the Tops.

CUSA Championship - Louisiana Tech v Western Kentucky
We saw Mike White work with some new packages this week as the Tops play with some new personnel sets.
Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images

They’re also going to expect a lot of tight ends Deon Yelder and Kyle Fourtenbarry. This week and throughout the spring, Sanford had the two lineup in a few different places including in the fullback spot at times. One other change we can expect is Mike White running a bit more. He’s not a runner, historically (his career rushing total is -128 yards), but he’ll be working with some read-option plays in the new system.

The offense and defense had a 75 play scrimmage on Friday in which Mike Sanford felt the defense earned the upper hand.

“I really felt like the defense played sound football today. The offense came out a little bit flat. Offensively, the challenge to them is, if you don’t like what you put on tape, you’ve got one more week and opportunity to change it”, Sanford stated after practice. “The defense has a mentality right now that I think lends itself to more experienced players and it makes a great challenge for our offense every day.”

Here’s a look at what the offense was able to do in Friday’s scrimmage:

The Tops got some bad news about two of the more exciting additions from this spring on Friday. Running back Leon Allen (knee) and tight end Justin Johnson (ankle) will miss the rest of the spring with injuries. Per Mike Sanford, the injuries don’t appear all that serious and the time off is more preventative than anything. Allen practiced this spring for the first time since 2015 and Johnson just took up football as his second sport at WKU alongside basketball.

NCAA Football: Louisiana Tech at Western Kentucky
We’ll have to wait a little longer to see Leon Allen back on the field.
Joshua Lindsey-USA TODAY Sports

In regular season news, the school finalized the date and opponent of the 2017 Homecoming game. The game will be against Charlotte on October 14th.

The Tops wrap up the spring this week with the Red vs White game on Saturday, April 22nd. Kickoff is set for 3 PM. To celebrate, let’s dance!