Toppers pleased with first Fall Camp practice

Junior quarterback Brandon Doughty steps back to take a throw during WKU’s first practice of Fall Camp. Photo by Shelby Mack.

Lucas Aulbach

Get your tailgating gear ready – football is back on the Hill.

The Toppers took part in their first practice of Fall Camp Monday afternoon at Smith Stadium. WKU will take part in 23 practices in August before the 2013-14 season-opener against Kentucky.

Coach Bobby Petrino said Monday’s practice couldn’t come soon enough.

“You put a lot into this first practice so when it finally gets here – the last 24 or 30 hours it seemed like the clock wouldn’t tick at all,” he said. “Once you get here and get going, now it’s going to move fast because you’ve got a lot of preparation to do, scripts to do, film to watch, but I really enjoyed it. I had a lot of fun today.”

Petrino is entering his first season as coach of the Toppers, but he has had all year to examine the team since getting hired in December.

The Toppers split into two groups for separate practices today, with newcomers practicing at 2 p.m. and veterans taking the field three hours later.

The coach said while he saw some things on both sides of the ball that impressed him, the defense was ahead of the offense on the first day.

“Our defense is going to be a little ahead of our offense in this camp,” Petrino said. “They have experience there and they know what they’re doing. I guess it would be our defense vs. the pass, because I think we’ll really do a good job running the ball in camp.”

The man who figures to run the ball the most this season, senior running back Antonio Andrews, was on the field Monday for the first practice.

He said he was impressed with his fellow veterans at the later practice.

“I was surprised to see how in-shape a lot of people were,” Andrews said. “It was just a really good day.”

He said it was good to see the team come together on the field again. The Toppers have spent the summer doing individual workouts and spending time learning more about football, in addition to taking summer classes.

“It’s been a while since we got together like that at that intensity,” Andrews said. “It’s a great feeling.”

Junior quarterback Brandon Doughty was also happy to be back on the field.

He said he could tell towards the end of the offseason that his teammates were getting excited about the upcoming year.

“The first day of anything, spring, fall – we’re all so excited to get going with the anticipation, everybody talking about it all summer,” he said. “I could kind of see at the end of the summer we were ready to get pads on and have the coaches out there coaching us.”

The Toppers will take part in 22 more practices before the start of the season. Every practice until Aug. 17 is open to the public.

Petrino said he’s spending time now working to improve his team’s preparation habits as the start of the season approaches.

“Right now we’re focused on the process on working hard in meetings,” he said. “We’re checking their notes and making sure they know how to take notes and concentrate. Today was a long day of meeting because we still have class going on so we’re working around that, but was a good day.”