Petrino impressed with first week of fall camp

Bobby Petrino talks to reporters during a press conference at Smith Stadium on Saturday, August 10. (Shelby Mack / Herald)

Elliott Pratt

Coach Bobby Petrino has noticed a big change in his team as the Toppers began Fall Camp last week.

The new coach of WKU said during Saturday’s Media Day press conference that the team’s summer workouts have paid off in their preparations for the season opener against Kentucky Aug. 31 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.

Petrino said he was most impressed with the team’s conditioning they arrived for fall practice last Monday.

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“The first thing that stands out is the condition that our players came back in,” Petrino said. “They’re much stronger, some guys are bigger, some guys are smaller, and I feel like our speed has really increased…the players must have worked extremely hard because they really are in great condition.”

As would be expected of Petrino, he has been especially critical of the quarterback play. Junior Brandon Doughty has been the assumed starter heading in to fall camp, but the position is still wide open according to offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm.

The quarterback picture is a little different since the spring game in April. While Doughty, one of the team’s captains, sits in the lead for the starting job, behind him is redshirt sophomore DeMarcus Smith, newcomer sophomore Nelson Fishback from Butte Community College, and freshman Todd Porter.

In the spring game, Doughty completed 23 of 35 passes for 314 yards and five touchdowns. He has said he’s not worried about losing his job, and that he will go out and compete everyday regardless of the situation.

Petrino said Doughty entered fall camp with some accuracy concerns, and praised Smith for his progress made from spring to fall.

“(Doughty’s) accuracy hasn’t been as good as it was in the spring, but some of that is expected because of the new wide receivers and new guys he’s working with,” Petrino said. “DaMarcus Smith has really improved. When he came out of spring ball I thought it really was going to take him a little bit to get in the position to play, but he is much better right now than he was all of spring. He understands the offense, his technique is getting better, his ability is really showing up so I’ve been happy with that.”

One of the new comers at receiver that Petrino has given much praise to is freshman Taywan Taylor, a 6-foot-1 185 pound receiver from Pleasure Ridge Park High School was working with the veterans of the team in his third practice of fall camp.

“It didn’t take long to really understand what he’s all about,” Petrino said. “…When we had coaches go watch him play basketball they were like – wow – the guy really competes and he’s really quick. He’s just a great athlete, a great young man…He has a chance to be a real special player for us.”