Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina closed its 2019 Spring Drills, presented by Wells Fargo, on Tuesday afternoon with a spirited 90+ minute workout in full pads on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. And though the NCAA-regulated 15 practice sessions during the spring off-season are through, the close of Tuesday's practice was far from an ending – at least in the eyes of the Catamount head coach, Mark Speir, who relayed that to his troops who to a man nodded in agreement in complete unison.
“I think that we had a very productive 15 days; we got better individually, got better as a football team. But I want our guys to know, our spring is not over,” said Speir following Tuesday's final workout. “We've still got a lot of weight training left to do, a lot of conditioning, and a lot of work in the classroom. Our target is to not just be champions on this field but also champions in that classroom, champions in the weight room. Winning is not about a set number of days; winning is about a lifestyle.”
Speir summed the spring by stating, “I'm proud of what these coaches have done and what these players have done with these 15 days that the NCAA gives us.”
Tuesday's final workout included short unit drills and special teams work with both the field goal and punt units before one final spirited, albeit brief, scrimmage.
Three kickers combined to split the uprights at varying distances including a near 50-yard boot by Will Horton, while both left-footed kicker Julian Pletz and Richard McCollum also combined to keep the kicking corps perfect. Joel Poinsette was the only punter to see action, kicking in several different scenarios.
Four different quarterbacks orchestrated the drives in Tuesday's scrimmage with returning starter Tyrie Adams leading the longest drive, moving down the field in 13 plays in his only action. Will Jones was joined by other QB's Joey Curry and Bubba Williamson in guiding drives for the offense as Speir wanted the younger players to get a few more reps before the close of the spring.
Three running backs split reps with Haki Bradley and Mason Burchette registering the only carries – the bulk coming by the newcomer Burchette who carried for a couple of first downs while receiving nearly 85-percent of the touches.
Five different players hauled in receptions in the brief scrimmage with WR Dray Starr leading the way with three grabs including an impressive catch-and-run that tallied nearly 30 yards for the longest play from scrimmage. Returning starter WR Nate Mullen caught a pair of passes on the first drive with receivers Mahari Stribling, Tucker Woolum, and TE Owen Cosenke each posting catches.
Defensively, linebacker Darrius Smith was very active during the scrimmage with multiple hits and recording a pass break-up that halted the Adams drive in the red zone. Defensive lineman Torrion Stevenson also posted a PBU by getting his paws on a low pass attempt while Jayden Pauling posted a tackle for loss behind the line of scrimmage. Returning DB Devarius Cortner recorded the only takeaway with an over-the-shoulder interception to post another stop for the hard-playing, swarming defense.
Tuesday's practice concluded with the WCU coaching staff instructing their positions on off-season drills and work that can be done individually or in player-led practices during the summer months leading up to the start of fall camp in early August.
Season tickets for the 2019 season of Catamount football are on-sale now through the Catamount Athletics Ticket office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, by phone at (800) 34-GOWCU, and online at CatamountSports.com. Three different seat types – reserved chair back, bench back reserved, and traditional stadium bleacher – options are available for the six home dates with prices beginning at $90 for an adult general admission and $55 for a youth bleacher season ticket.
Returning season ticket holders must renew their season tickets by June 28, 2019 to lock-in their same seats from last year.