WKU wraps up second week of spring football

Western Kentucky University defensive end DeAngelo Malone (10) and defensive tackle Ricky Barber (50) tackle Southern Mississippi quarter back Trey Lowe (8) on Nov. 14, 2020.

Drew Toennies

The WKU Football program has finished up their second week of spring practices on Saturday morning.

With Maurice Crum becoming the main defensive coordinator for the Hilltoppers, he communicated that he is still in the honeymoon stage of the job.

“I’m still kind of like a kid in the candy store,” Crum said. “Everything is new for me, every day is a new day, every time I talk to the coaches, it’s all exciting.”

Crum has been pleased with the work he has seen from his players so far in the first two weeks of practice.

“I think we got a lot of guys that love football and a lot of guys that love the process,” Crum said. “They play hard, they compete and that’s the part I love the most. Whatever I challenge them with, they find a way to meet or exceed that challenge.”

Senior safety Antwon Kincade has communicated how it is far more competitive this year, but he has been welcoming the competitive spirit from his fellow teammates, especially graduate Bailey Zappe, who will be playing quarterback in this upcoming season.

“It’s more competitive this year. We have an amazing quarterback that came in, Bailey. He’s a good guy,” Kincade said. “He peaks every day, weight room, it can be anywhere, he competes. Skilled players in the offense are more explosive.”

Crum has also been pleased with how fast his players have been learning and making the proper adjustments.

“The guys have done a tremendous job of putting the time in and the work in,” Crum said. “The coaching staff have been really pleased with the amount of text messages and calls they get from their players.”

There have been a few significant performances from the players in the first two weeks that have caught the attention of the Crum and the rest of the coaching staff.

“I’m really liking Miguel Edwards, love his mentality, he’s been showing up making plays on the ball,” Crum said. “Devven’s doing a really good job. Kendrick Simpkins and A.J Braithwaite are two guys that are starting to come on in the secondary. That depth, obviously, Cain, Malone, and Juan, those guys are making plays for a long time. It’s really good to see Clay Davis back out there. Clay has come back like he’s never left.”

Crum has also been impressed with senior DeAngelo Malone and his attentiveness to getting fit to compete in this upcoming season.

“He’s made an over-the-top commitment to his body. You know, just going through the process of, wanting to harden his body, toughening his body, so that he can be dominant just like he was a couple of years ago,” Crum said. “He’s not a secret anymore. Last year, everybody kind of knew who he was and where he was going to be. He felt that in order to get where he wants to get, he needs to change his body.”

Kincade has communicated that with the end of week two, things will be heating up by next week’s practices.

“It was a whole lot of everybody was excited and jumping around, having fun in the first couple of weeks, but now it’s more about you having to know your keys and techniques going into the third week,” Kincade said. “It’s gonna be a whole lot of technique, emphasis. We got an older group, a more mature group, so we’re gonna go into the third week and just be more technical as a defense, because we’ve had many strong years here.”

With the Hilltoppers ready to continue training next week, Crum has a few expectations going forward in the spring practice slate.

“I think going forward, finishing up the second week, I’m just looking for a higher level of execution, in addition to production,” Crum said. “I think they got the competition down and I think as they learn and the installs kind of start to slow down, they can remember some things and start to produce.”

The Hilltoppers will return to Houchens-Smith Stadium on Tuesday, March 30 to continue their spring practice schedule.

Sports reporter Drew Toennies at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @drew_toennies.