WKU Head Coach Willie Taggart said Wednesday that he
was ready to see how his team would handle a game situation.
Taggart said Thursday that the offense handled the
live action far better than their defensive counterparts.
“The offense came out ready to play and executed
really well,” Taggart said. “Both the running and passing game
“The defense didn’t come out ready to play. We said
it earlier in training camp, when our defense doesn’t play with a
lot of energy and a lot of enthusiasm, they don’t play well at all.
Yesterday was a good point for our football team to see that.”
Sophomore linebacker Mike Federspiel agreed with
Taggart’s assessment, saying the defense “didn’t play with the
emotion” it needed.
He said there are improvements to be made before the
Toppers take on Kentucky on Sept. 1, exactly one week from
“We have a week before the game so we really have to
focus in on what we need to do,” Federspiel said. “We did some good
things but we also need to work on some things.”
Going into the scrimmage, Taggart talked about the
need to solidify the offensive line.
He said Thursday he was most impressed with junior
tackles Adam Smith and Seth White and sophomore guard Luis
Taggart said he anticipates using an offensive line
rotation this season.
“We have some guys that have some experience from
playing last year or even starting,” Taggart said. “I could see
times where some of those guys could get in play for us and that’s
a good thing that we have a little depth.”
Freshmen running backs earn
Running backs were a point of emphasis when Taggart
went out to recruit the current freshmen class.
Those efforts paid off, as Taggart brought in
Rivals.com three-star running backs Marquis Sumler and Quartterrio
Thursday Taggart praised the efforts of Sumler,
Morgan and freshman John Evans, and said they’re coming along well
just a week away from their first-ever college game.
“I feel like we recruited the right guys,” Taggart
said. “All three of them did some good things in the scrimmage
yesterday that have us feeling really good.
“Morgan and John Evans had really separated
themselves, then yesterday we put Sumler in there and the light
seemed like it came on. The kid came in there and ran hard. He was
really, really, really impressive.”
Evans, Morgan and Sumler may find themselves working
in a backup rotation this year, competing for the job of spelling
senior running back Bobby Rainey.
Rainey carried the ball 340 times last season, the
highest total in the Football Bowl Subdivision, and WKU coaches
have emphasized finding other running back options throughout fall
Rainey said he was confident the other running backs
could pick up where he left off when he takes a break during a
“I know when I go out that everything will still be
fine,” Rainey said. “I have confidence that the younger guys will
get the job done.”
Taking on Dad’s team
Facing an in-state rival can bring special emotions
for a football team.
But for Federspiel, taking on Kentucky Sept. 1 means
going against a program in which his father is recognized as a
Federspiel played his prep career at Henry Clay High
School in Lexington, and his father, Joe, was a UK linebacker
before moving on to a 10-year NFL career.
Joe Federspiel was named to the Kentucky 100th
Anniversary Team in 1990 by both the Lexington Herald-Leader and
Mike Federspiel said playing his father’s alma mater
will have special meaning for him.
“My dad had a good career there and I grew up a UK
fan,” he said. “I’m looking forward to playing them, and I think we
have a shot against them.”
He won’t be the only former Henry Clay alum on the
Kentucky receiver Aaron Boyd and center Sam Simpson
were both high school teammates of Federspiel.
“They like to run their mouths a little bit because
they got us last year,” Federspiel said. “But we’re a lot better
than we were last year and we’re ready for them.”