Football notes: WKU fall camp wraps up on Saturday

Neil Wilson/

Lucas Aulbach

The Toppers had their last practice of fall camp on Saturday morning and after three weeks of workouts, the mood among the players and coaching staff was high.

Coach Willie Taggart called this year’s camp the best the team has had in his three years as head coach.

“That’s a part of the whole process,” he said. “You go into year three and things should be a lot smoother.”

Players on both sides of the ball were pleased with the way camp went as well.

Senior quarterback Kawaun Jakes said he saw the offense improve over the course of the month.

“From an offensive standpoint, we made a lot of big plays, ran the ball pretty well, the o-line blocked well, and the receivers did a good job catching the ball,” Jakes said.

From the defensive side, senior defensive lineman Cole Tischer said the defense made strides at camp as well, benefiting from being familiar with second-year defensive coordinator Lance Guidry’s playbook.

“We learned new schemes, we learned our technique better, and we just got to know the defense,” Tischer said. “Having Guidry back for a second year is obviously a big help for us.”

The Toppers had to deal with some departures at the end of camp.

Sophomore offensive lineman William Berner is no longer with the team and senior defensive end Quanterus Smith has been suspended for the first game against Austin Peay for a violation of team rules.

Smith led WKU in sacks last season with 7.5.

WKU is now one week away from its first regular season game. The Toppers haven’t played a regular season opponent in nine months, so naturally the players and coaches are excited, Taggart said.

“We’re more than ready,” he said. “We’ll probably be ready to play two football games on Saturday.”

Captains revealed for Austin Peay game

Three upperclassmen will represent WKU as team captains in the upcoming season opener.

Taggart announced on Saturday that senior tight end Jack Doyle, senior defensive tackle Jamarcus Allen and junior punter Hendrix Brakefield have been selected by the WKU players as captains for the first game.

While none of the picks come as much of a surprise, it’s a notable honor for Doyle, who will represent the Toppers as offensive captain for the third time in his career.

“For Jack, being the third time, that’s remarkable what he’s done and been able to accomplish and he’s been that guy,” Taggart said. “He’s been that guy, he doesn’t get too down, he doesn’t get too high, he doesn’t get too low, and he’s consistent in his message and in what he does.”

The three captains will take the field for the coin toss against Austin Peay on Sept. 1 at Smith Stadium.

Wide receiver Wilson earns scholarship

Junior wide receiver Neil Wilson might have had the best end to camp of anyone on the team.

Wilson, a walk-on, was recently awarded a scholarship by the WKU coaching staff. He was surprised with the news in front of the whole team by Taggart after practice on Friday.

Taggart said he likes to surprise recipients with the news, and Wilson said he had no idea it was coming.

“He hadn’t said anything to me about it, and when he announced it in front of the team, my face, I know, just lighted up,” Wilson said. “I was very excited.

“I was already excited, it got me even more excited, and I just know I’ve got to work that much harder.”

Taggart said the walk-on earned the scholarship for the work he’s done for the football team.

“He worked really hard on and off the field and he’s doing everything we asked of him and I think he’s going to help us on the football field, too,” the coach said.