Fall camp update: Zappe, Wilson building chemistry in new program

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Credit: HBU Athletics

Senior quarterback Bailey Zappe signed with Western Kentucky University on Dec. 27, 2020 to further his career on the field. 

Wyatt Sparkman, Football reporter

WKU Football wrapped up another day of fall training camp on Wednesday morning in the midst of a muggy August heat. Starting quarterback Bailey Zappe and offensive lineman Boe Wilson spoke with the media, sharing their thoughts on building chemistry with teammates and discussing how both the offense and defense are progressing throughout camp.

Zappe is working through the last fall training camp of his collegiate career. He shared that everybody has stepped up and taken the initiative of learning the brand-new scheme offensive coordinator Zach Kittley has brought to the team this season. 

“It’s been great. This is my fifth and final fall camp,” Zappe said. “I’ve been trying to cherish every day, try to savor the memories, try to get everybody in sync for game one. It’s been a great fall camp. It’s probably been the best one I’ve been a part of and like I said before, I’m really excited.”

The Houston Baptist transfer shared that junior Craig Burt Jr, redshirt junior Daewood Davis and junior Mitchell Tinsley are some of the teammates on the offensive side of the ball he has built solid chemistry with this offseason. Burt Jr. and Tinsley combined for 543 yards and six touchdowns on just 66 catches last year and Davis transferred to the Hill from Oregon in January.

“Of course, the HBU guys, I have had chemistry with them, Jerreth [Sterns], Josh [Sterns] and Ben [Ratzlaff],” Zappe said. “I have chemistry with those guys. I’ve been just trying to work with Mitch and the guys that were already here or transferred in before I was here, just working with them. Then, the defensive side; [Antwon] Kincade…DeAngelo [Malone], Juwuan [Jones]. I’m good friends with all those guys. This team is [really] tight-knit. It’s a big brotherhood. I’m excited to be a part of it.”

Senior safety Antwon Kincade gave Zappe a nod last Friday for being tough on the defense each and every practice. Zappe reciprocated the feeling back to the defense, giving the opposite side of the ball credit for how they’ve made the offense better over the course of the offseason. 

“It’s fun when you play against a defense that’s probably, what, number one in Conference USA? To go against them every day is a big test,” Zappe said. “You get to study their guys. They run different coverages, different types of defense, and being able to watch film every day with coach Kittley and trying to study what they do, they give us different stuff every day.”

Offensive lineman Boe Wilson also appeared before the media after practice. Wilson spent four years as a part of Nebraska’s football organization before transferring to the Hill. The Lee’s Summit, Mo. native recorded a solo tackle and a pair of assisted takedowns during his Cornhusker career and has fully bought into the Hilltoppers’ line.

“​​Came in here in January, these guys welcomed me with open arms,” Wilson said. “Ever since I got here, [they’ve] treated me like a brother and I’ve just been buying into their system. I really feel welcome here, I love playing here with these guys, it’s a very good group.”

Wilson already feels the camaraderie with the other members of his offense and is glad that one of his main goals – getting to know his teammates – has been accomplished.

“As the offensive line, you’re five fingers, you make the fist,” Wilson said. “Without that cohesion, you don’t work so well together. So when I first got here my first priority was to get to know everyone better.”

The Hilltoppers’ regular-season opener continues to inch closer and closer. The UT Martin Skyhawks will come to town on Sept. 2 to officially kick off the 2021 season.

Football reporter Wyatt Sparkman can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @wyattsparkman3.