Football notebook: Toppers set for Saturday scrimmage

Elliott Pratt

Three weeks into spring practice, the Toppers are getting accustomed to the new speed and tempo expected of them from an entirely new coaching staff.

As the tempo is rising in practice, so is the temperature, which makes for a good day for a scrimmage Saturday at Smith Stadium set for 10:30 a.m.

The team will start the day with individual drills before beginning the full scrimmage that will, like all practices this spring, be open to the public.

Coach Bobby Petrino said the scrimmage will be a test to show who really has been practicing the right way to this point in the spring.

“We play hard at times and fatigue gets us and we lose concentration,” Petrino said. “We’ll have a good long scrimmage and get them tired. We’ll see who can do what they’re coached to do when their tired. I think that will be the biggest thing to see tomorrow.”

Petrino said he’s not as worried about his team executing the scheme tomorrow as he is to watch the players’ technique.

“What I want to see is the players,” Petrino said. “I want to evaluate the players and see how they do their technique, how the run to the ball, how they block people and get off their blocks. It’s really a time to evaluate the team.”

Kene Anyigbo trying on football cleats

Seniors Kawaun Jakes and Marcus Vasquez joined the WKU basketball team at the conclusion of football season, but Vasquez was the only one to stay till season’s end on the court.

Some of that switching around may have influenced basketball forward Kene Anyigbo to give it a shot with the pigskin.

The Bellaire, TX native wore No. 89 in his second practice in a WKU football uniform. Anyigbo, a junior, was a three-star recruit at defensive end out of Bellaire High School in 2009.

Petrino said Anyigbo showed interest a few months ago in joining the football team after basketball season. After speaking with friends and family of Anyigbo’s, the coach said it would be good to give him a shot.

“We certainly are in favor of it to see how he does,” Petrino said. “He’s only had two practices so far. It’s been a long time since he’s played football, but he’s really a great young man and very talented.  We’ll see how it plays out and I’m excited to see how the next couple of weeks work out for him.”

Anyigbo will still remain a member of the Hilltopper basketball program.

QB job remains wide open

The quarterbacks on WKU’s roster auditioning for the starting role threw a combined 21 passes last year, with redshirt sophomore Damarcus Smith only in his first year with WKU after transferring from Central Florida.

It has been a three-way battle since camp started for Smith and fellow redshirt sophomore James Mauro and junior Brandon Doughty.

Smith said his teammates have helped him tremendously with getting adjusted to getting back on the field.

“I get to listen to them every day and they teach me little things,” Smith said. “As a player and as a quarterback you can still learn a lot from the players, rather than the coaches, just because they actually have that game experience of being in the game.”

But the starting role is still wide open, and Petrino said the decision for a starting quarterback will take some time.

“The one thing that I want to make sure is we don’t make any decisions until we have to,” Petrino said. “We keep giving them reps and see who is going to continue to get better. If you cut somebody’s reps, the other one gets better and he gets worse and there’s a huge separation.”

Mauro said having Petrino as a coach puts more pressure on the quarterbacks to make the right decisions.

“(Petrino) is around us a lot,” Mauro said. “He’s critiquing everything, which I want to be the best player I can be, so anything I need to improve on that he can help me with is good.”