‘Iron sharpens iron’ – WKU starts second week of spring practice


WKU Athletics

Western Kentucky University head coach Tyson Helton roams the sidelines at Cardinal Stadium on Sept. 12, 2020. 

Rob Holmes, Sports Reporter

WKU began its second week of practice for spring football with all-out optimism for what’s to come.

Co-offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Josh Crawford said he was extremely impressed with the status of the offense as a whole and his entire group of receivers.

“It’s been really good. It’s been very exciting,” Crawford said. “Obviously, there’s new faces out here, offensively, it’s been good to watch. You have a lot of guys that have returned, so we’re probably a little bit ahead in terms of offense with our players knowing what to do — and then it’s been exciting to watch the new guys that we’ve brought in here. At the wideout position, that’s one area where I definitely think we’re probably better in.”

Returning sophomores Malachi Corley and Josh Sterns are expected to have bigger roles this season and take the next step to becoming the leaders in that receiving group to go along with transfers Jaylen Hall, from Western Michigan, and Michael Mathison, from Akron.

Jaylen Hall is enjoying the transition here at Western Kentucky, and  believes WKU’s pass heavy offense is what is going to give him the keys to success.

“We want to build off what the guys did last year,” Hall said. “So I’m just coming in to perform and showcase why I’m here and why they want me to be here.”

When Hall was asked about his strengths as a player, he described himself as someone with “quick burst, speed, and length.”

“That’s my advantage,” Hall said. “The downside is everyone saying I’m a skinny guy, but you can’t hit what you can’t catch, so that’s what I use.”

Michael Mathison is also expected to come right in and make an immediate impact in WKU’s high powered offense. He raved about the new change of scenery and the offense that he is now a big part of. 

“Things here have been going well so far, it’s been a little bit of an adjustment,” Mathison said. “The offense is really attractive and I just wanted to be somewhere where I can win football games and also develop my game as a player. They throw the ball a lot so I think I can affect the game in multiple ways, whether it’s going deep or taking something quick to the house. I think I can do it all.”

The team’s defense is making progress with new strategies accredited to first-year defensive coordinator Tyson Summers. Everyone on the defensive side only has good things to say about coach Summers and the job he’s done since being hired.

Cornerbacks coach Keynodo Hudson is excited to see the results of the work that they’ve put in to prepare for the season. 

“I’m extremely excited and proud of the guys,” Hudson said. “They are doing a good job of comprehending the defense and being able to take the drills to the field. They’re playing fast, and we’re in the process of developing all of the young guys. So I’m extremely excited about those guys and their progress so far.”

Hudson went on to say that playing against the best passing offense in the nation is preparing them for the fall season. 

“We have a big time offense and as iron sharpens iron, so shall one man sharpen another, and our offense is going to do a tremendous job of getting us where we need to be for the upcoming fall season, because we are going to play against a lot of dynamic offenses, and what better offense to go against then the number one offense in the country,” Hudson said. “They do a tremendous job of getting us sharp every single day.”

Transfer Safety Upton Stout has been praised by his coaches for his natural football instinct and his playmaking ability. Stout has verbally expressed how much he loves his new school.

“I’m loving Western Kentucky, I’m not gonna lie, I’m loving it,” Stout said. “Everything about it, I love it. There’s nothing to really complain about. I really just wanted to bet on myself, play around some dogs and get coached by the best coaches. I’m loving the team, we’re all working together and loving each other, being one family, I’m loving it.”

Stout was described as a heat seeking missile and a bullet. He describes himself as someone who’s “fast and physical.” His impact on this year’s defense is expected to be great.

Sports Reporter Rob Holmes IV can be reached at [email protected].