Training Days: Hilltoppers conclude first padded practice of fall camp

Western Kentucky Hilltoppers tight end Mitchell Henry (80) is tackled by Arkansas State Red Wolves defensive back Sterling Young during the first half of Saturday’s game against Arkansas State. Western Kentucky lead 20-14 at the half.

Kyle Williams

The WKU football team strapped on shoulder pads and practiced for the third time this fall on Monday inside Smith Stadium.

The Hilltoppers completed 11-on-11 drills, individual position drills and offensive and defensive sets at full speed.

Tyson Helton, offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, who came to The Hill after one year as tight ends/special teams coach at Cincinnati, said the team’s offensive game plan this season will be simple – whatever is necessary, which will vary depending on what opposing defenses present.

“I’ve always said this – we’re going to do whatever it takes to win,” Helton said. “We’re not going to go past what this offense is. This offense has been successful, so we’re going to be who we are.”

Helton said redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty will start, but there’s no sign of a clear choice at backup thus far. Junior quarterback Nelson Fishback has the most experience of any remaining quarterback, having thrown for 174 yards and a touchdown last season.

“Really we have four or five good guys,” Helton said. “…Any one of those guys can get the job done. We’re trying to get everybody reps. It’s early in fall camp. We want to see what everybody can do. Guys are doing a nice job of taking care of the ball. Brandon is our guy, but we have to get those other guys ready to go.”

With nine of the 11 offensive starters from last season returning, Helton said the offense has a firm grip on the system but still needs to iron out the kinks.

“I think there’s more of a confidence level more than anything,” Helton said. “Those guys know what their job is and they’re feeling good about it. …I feel really good about our skill players and the depth that is there. Those guys are confident about what they’re doing.”