Notes: Taggart talks O-line, spring game draft, Downing’s passing

Head Coach Willie Taggart runs down the field at spring practice last Wednesday. Taggart was critical of the offensive line Tuesday, saying the defense got the better of them.

Emily Patton

The Toppers heard quite a bit of yelling after Tuesday’s practice.

Head Coach Willie Taggart was the voice behind it.

“Defense totally dominated the offensive line today,” Taggart said. “That was disappointing. We gave up way too many sacks in practice. We got to find some guys to step up on our O-line. We’ve got some guys that aren’t practicing right now for us. Those guys got to step up. None of them, especially the inside and the guards, are really doing that.”

While the defense keeps producing, Taggart said it has been hard for the offense to stay consistent.

“We show sparks,” he said. “We just aren’t consistent.”

Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said Tuesday that both he Taggart agree that out of the eight days of spring practice so far, defense has dominated all but two of them – the scrimmage last Saturday and one other midweek practice.

Spring game draft taking place Friday

Leading up to the annual spring game on April 16, the Toppers will hold a draft for the players on the red and white teams.

Guidry will coach the white team, while offensive centers/guards coach Walt Wells will coach the red team.

Each team will sign one offensive and one defensive player before the draft. All remaining players are available for selection.

Guidry said the draft gives the players an extra push of motivation heading into the spring game.

“I think (the draft) is really unique,” Guidry said. “We’ve split teams in the past at places I’ve been in the past, but we’ve never done it like this, and I think this is really good.”

Taggart remembers former president Downing

Taggart sent out a tweet to his followers on Twitter Tuesday morning that said, “This world has lost a great man and mentor. A true Hilltopper.”

Dero Downing, WKU’s fourth president, died Monday at age 89.

Downing was both a friend and a mentor for Taggart, and he said later at Tuesday’s practice that it was difficult to learn the news of Downing’s passing.

“Dr. Downing, for me, he has been a guy that when you talk about Western Kentucky, he is one of the first guys you think about – him and Coach (Jimmy) Feix,” Taggart said. “Those are guys I think about from playing days. I remember coach Downing when I was playing, and he would come to our homecoming and talk to our team.

“I took to heart everything he said to me. It made me a better person and a better coach. After some of those tough losses, I’d get a phone call from Dero Downing, and it made things a lot better for me.”