Training Days: Secondary filled with familiar faces

WKU junior defensive back Cam Thomas intercepts the ball. WKU lost 52-20 against Tennessee in Knoxville, Tn on Saturday at Neyland Stadium.

Kyle Williams

WKU football closed out its 12th and 13th practice of fall camp on Wednesday and according to secondary coach Mike Cassity, there’s no substituting experience for the defensive backs this season.

Without Jonathan Dowling, Tyree Robinson, Arius Wright and Kiante Young, the Hilltoppers will be without a bulk of the experience they were accustomed to last season – however, Cassity said there’s still plenty of know-how to go around.

“They’ve made progress,” Cassity said. “There’s a lot of new faces, but there’s familiar faces. I mean, Cam Thomas – all-conference cornerback. Marcus Ward played a lot of football. Ricardo Singh – we’ve got guys that have had playing time.”

Dowling, Robinson and Wright combined for eight of WKU’s 14 total interceptions last season, but Thomas, a redshirt senior and an all-conference first team member last season, led the team with five.

Sophomore defensive back Marcus Ward, who also notched an interception last season, said Thomas has been a strong leader and that experience isn’t lacking in the secondary.

“(Thomas) is a guy who’s been here, an experienced guy, so he knows what to do and if we need help on something we’re asking him,” Ward said. “But at the same time, we have guys in the back end like me, Ricardo Singh and Rico Brown who also have to know. …We’re still looking for guys, but right now Cam Thomas has really stepped up.”

Ward started as a true freshman in the first three games last season and appeared in a total of seven and recorded 13 tackles.

Brown, a redshirt senior, started five games and appeared in 12 last year, recording 29 tackles along the way.

Singh, a redshirt senior, and redshirt junior Prince Charles Iworah appeared in 10 games apiece and recorded 11 tackles between them.

Ward said being in the second year of the system makes a world of difference for the returning defensive backs.

“It’s becoming more of a second nature to us to know what play to call, know where to be and listen to coach and know what to look for,” Ward said. “I think we’re becoming a lot more comfortable with it, but at the same time we have to attack it.”