Spring game to highlight new Topper football team

Hilltopper Defensive Coordinator Nick Holt (left) yells to linebacker Daqual Randall, No. 17, to catch a relay partner in a running exercise during practice on Wednesday at Smith Stadium.

Elliott Pratt

All of the preparation from the last five weeks will be displayed on the field Saturday when the WKU football team takes over Smith Stadium at 2 p.m. for the annual Red and White spring game.

This year’s Red and White game is anticipated to draw on of the largest crowds in recent memory, with the almost complete remodeling of the team.

Sophomore tight end Mitchell Henry said the Toppers have heard the buzz around campus and that students are ready to see a new Topper football team.

“I think everybody’s excited to get out there,” Henry said. “I’ve heard a lot of people say that they’re coming and excited to see this new offense, new team and see what they’re going see in the fall.”

Henry, along with fellow tight end Tyler Higbee, said he’s ready to put are ready to give fans a great showing Saturday.

The tight ends should see the ball plenty of times in Saturday’s scrimmage. This year’s squad features five tight ends and brings depth to the receiving core — Higbee is even transitioning from a wide receiver to tight end role to help the offense.

The Clearwater, Fl. native said the shift was a challenge in the run game, but the new offense allowed him to adapt quickly.

“It’s a little hard getting in the run game, but I’m transitioning pretty well,” Higbee said. “I think it’s going pretty well, especially since Petrino throws the ball a little bit more. It helps me out with the transition and makes it a little bit easier for myself.”

Higbee said the past five weeks have been a challenge for the whole team, but personally spoke of the offense, saying everything is coming together as planned.

“It was a little tough at first picking it up and now that you see everything that’s going on, you see yourself picking it up as well as your teammates,” Higbee said. “Once it all comes together, it’s a beautiful picture.”

It wasn’t necessarily a beautiful picture during Wednesday’s practice according to offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm, who said the team’s performance was a bit sloppy.

“Those are things that are going to happen,” Brohm said. “We have to regroup, we have to know how important every practice is. We have one more left before the spring game and have to take advantage of it and improve every single day since this is a new offense and a new system.”

Brohm is still optimistic of what the team will show on the field, and said the Hilltopper fan base should motivate the team on Saturday.

“I think (fans) are looking forward to having a great year,” Brohm said. “We’re going do our part and work extremely hard to make sure that we’re ready to go and take advantage of every opportunity, every practice and every chance we have to get better and hopefully put a good product on the field.”

Henry echoed his coordinator’s thoughts and went on to say he is looking for “good effort on both sides” and the team must come in with high energy in order to be happy with their spring game performance.

“Put on a show for the fans,” Henry said. “Just everybody doing their job at all times and just executing and seeing this offense come together because it’s brand new to everybody. It’d be nice in the spring game to see the stuff we’ve been working on just happen.”