Toppers fueling competition with spring game draft

Emily Patton

Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said he wants to keep things “hush-hush.”

After all, it’s draft time for the WKU football team, and the wheeling and dealing has already started.

Before the annual spring game on April 16, a draft will take place to divide the players into two teams — the red and the white.

“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.”

Each team was able to sign one offensive and one defensive player before the draft. All remaining players are then available for selection in the actual draft, which will take place after today’s practice.

The red team signed junior defensive tackle Jamarcus Allen and senior offensive lineman Wes Jeffries with its two picks, while the white team signed senior defensive end Jared Clendenin and junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes.

With each side trying to draft the best players, both Guidry and Head Coach Willie Taggart said it gives the Toppers extra motivation to work hard during this week of practice.

“Some guys want to be a first-round draft pick. Some guys want to be that No. 1 pick,” Taggart said. “When there is pride on a team, that says a lot about a team. It says a lot of what the coaches think, and as a player, you get fired up.”

Guidry will assume head coaching duties of the white team, while offensive centers/guards coach Walt Wells will be the head coach of the red team.

Assisting Guidry will be coaches A.J. Pratt, Eric Mathies and Terry Obee.  On the white team, Wells will have help from Raymond Woodie, Karl Maslowski, offensive coordinator Zach Azzanni and Alonzo Hampton.

Taggart, who will be a neutral observer at the spring game, said Friday’s draft is emphasizing competition between players, and he attributes the quality spring practices this year to that increased competition.

“It is something different for our guys,” Taggart said. “They have been in the same routine for three weeks. It is something for them to look forward to. The white team is talking a little trash to the red team, and same thing with the coaches too. They are getting competitive. 

“It gives me, as a head coach, an opportunity to see what our coaches think of our football team — who they’ll draft. I think there is a lot of good out of it.”

Clendenin, the white team’s first pick, was also selected early in last year’s draft.

“That’s motivation,” Clendenin said. “We want to show the coaches what we can do out here. We are all juiced up and motivated for that. We love the draft.”

Although the spring game draft is fun, it isn’t causing any distraction for the Toppers, Taggart said.

“We are nowhere near where we want to be come fall,” he said. “So like I told our team, we are going to enjoy and have fun with the spring draft, but we are going to stay focused on our mission, and that is to continue to get better at playing football.”