Cullowhee, N.C. – Western Carolina football held its final big preseason scrimmage on Saturday, conducting over 80 plays from scrimmage with special teams drills sprinkled throughout the session on a hot and sunny afternoon in full pads on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. The two-plus hour workout featured game-prep team stretch and individual position warm-ups before embarking on the situational scrimmage.

“We were able to get in a lot of plays and a lot of players in our last big scrimmage of the preseason with Southern Conference officials here,” said WCU head coach Mark Speir. “I thought that we started off really well on both sides. The whole factor – and I keep saying it, and probably every coach in America is saying it right now, but it's the consistency of execution.”

Speir added, “What I'm really proud of is our conditioning level. It was a hot day out here today and we had zero crampings. I think that our defense is flying around to the football, they're playing hard and playing fast because they're in great shape. The physical effort part, I think that we're light years ahead of where we were last year and I'm very excited about that. On execution, we're still a little way off and that part is just the consistency factory.”

WCU concludes its preseason training camp on Sunday afternoon with its 14th practice of the fall. The team will work out in shells in a special teams-heavy practice session including all kicking situations, concluding with an offense vs. defense session. Team members will take a part in the Catamount Athletics welcome back event before reconvening for the annual Rookie Showcase ahead of Monday's opening of fall classes in Cullowhee.

There is no practice on Monday as is typical for the squad as it moves into its weekly regular-season routine.


Scrimmage Highlights:

- Western Carolina's offense started strong on Saturday, converting its goal on its first three possessions, twice coming off its own goal line including an impressive 30+ yard run that was blown dead after he crossed the 30-yard line ... Tyrie Adams then found Daquan Patten on a 25-yard scoring strike on the first play of the third series that started on the 25-yard line going in;

- Redshirt senior QB Tyrie Adams opened the scrimmage by completing six of his first seven passes including the TD pass to Patten;

- After the initial start by the offense, the defensive unit strung together six-consecutive stops including two, 3-and-out possessions, a 15-yard interception returned for a touchdown by redshirt senior JerMichael White, and a blocked 38-yard field goal attempt;

- All told, five different players saw action at the quarterback position on Saturday afternoon with projected starter Tyrie Adams and back-up Will Jones seeing the bulk of the reps ... Redshirt freshman Bubba Williamson and freshman QB Malik Richardson also saw reps with D.J. Thorpe – who originally came to WCU as a quarterback before converting to wide receiver – also receiving a rep at QB in both halves of the scrimmage ... In his second series, Thorpe moved the offense 41 yards utilizing all three of his completions in a drive that ended with a 35-yard McCollum field goal;

- Richardson turned heads with an athletic, shifty, 47-yard rush, juking through the would-be tacklers to move the ball into the red zone – but, WCU the defense stiffened and ultimately blocked a field goal attempt;

- A total of 30 different defenders were credited with defensive stops on Saturday afternoon as both sides worked through three units on the depth charts and rotated a variety of players;

- WCU's special teams units converted six field goals on Saturday afternoon including a long of 48 yards by left-footed kicker Julian Pletz ... the Catamounts also hit both PAT attempts ... Conversely, the field goal block unit swatted a pair of field-goal attempts with Ronald Kent coming off the edge to block one and freshman Jabril Muhammad credited with blocking a low line-drive kick attempt;

- Punters Joel Poinsette and Brandon Dickerson split the reps in special teams punt drills at the beginning of the scrimmage while transfer Jacob Enns boomed a 47-yarder during the progressive series of the afternoon scrimmage ... Richard McCollum and Pletz split the kickoff duties at the beginning of the scrimmage with McCollum and Will Horton sharing reps out of the halftime locker rooms.



OFF – TD – Tyrie Adams to Daquan Patten, 25-yard pass; Will Horton PAT

OFF – FG – Julian Pletz, 28-yarder

DEF – INT – JerMichael White, 15-yard interception return

OFF – FG – Richard McCollum, 35-yarder

OFF – FG – Will Horton, 30-yarder

OFF – FG – Richard McCollum, 27-yarder

OFF – FG – Julian Pletz, 48-yarder

OFF – FG – Will Horton, 37-yarder

OFF – TD – Tyrie Adams to Austin Phillips, 4-yard pass; Richard McCollum PAT

DEF – INT – Michael Murphy, 32-yard interception return



Passing – (21-of-35, 241 yards, 2 TDs)

Tyrie Adams – 12-of-19, 143 yards, 2 TDs

Will Jones – 4-of-7, 36 yards, INT

Bubba Williamson – 2-for-3, 43 yards, INT

Malik Richardson – 0-for-1

D.J. Thorpe – 3-for-5, 19 yards


Rushing Leaders:

Donnavan Spencer – 10 carries, 58 yards – long of 30 yards

Christian Yarborough – 10 carries, 47 yards

Syheam McQueen – 9 carries, 16 yards

Caleb Ferguson – 7 carries


Receiving Leaders:

Kasimir Absolu – 4 rec., 58 yards

Daquan Patten – 2 rec., 37 yards, TD

Mahari Stribling – 2 rec., 31 yards

Kenny Benton – 2 rec., 26 yards

Nate Mullen – 3 rec., 24 yards

Tyler Mitchell – 1 rec., 25 yards

Syheam McQueen – 1 rec., 16 yards

Jaylin Young – 3 rec., 13 yards

Tucker Woolum – 1 rec., 5 yards

Austin Phillips – 1 rec., 4 yards, TD

Luke Britt – 1 rec., 2 yards


Defensive Leaders:

Jarquavius Wortham – 10 total tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks

K.J. Milner – 8 tackles, 4 TFL, 3 sacks

Jayden Pauling – 6 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack

Trevor Childers – 5 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

Ty Harris – 5 tackles, 1 TFL

Michael Murphy – 4 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, INT

Roman Johnson – 4 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack

Ronald Kent – 4 tackles, 1 blocked FG

JerMichael White – 3 tackles, 2 PBU, INT

Jabril Muhammad – 2 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 blocked FG

Anthony Badgett – 2 tackles, 1 TFL, FF, FR



Notes & Quotes:

JerMichael White, Redshirt Senior Defensive Back:

On his reaction to Saturday's scrimmage:

“I don't feel that we came slow, we just had to match (the offense's) energy. In our last scrimmage, we kind of came out slow so we wanted to make sure during our meetings that we came out fast and really communicated – those were our biggest issues in the last scrimmage and last year, not communicating. Since today was a game-like situation, we wanted to make sure we communicated on all levels and on every aspect of the game.”



Michael Murphy, Redshirt Junior Defensive Back:

On his reaction to Saturday's scrimmage:

 “I think that things went well today on the defensive side of the ball. I felt like we had a lot of energy. We had a lot of guys make plays, in the right place at the right time. I thought we did a really good job of that today on the defensive side.”


Daquan Patten, Redshirt Junior Wide Receiver

On his reaction to Saturday's scrimmage:

“I felt like we were very explosive in the first half; we all came out, exploded off the ball, the quarterbacks made the right reads, the receivers ran good routes and the running backs hit their holes. So, I feel like we came out pretty good in the first half. We've just got to find the way to maintain that through an entire game.”


Grady Thomas, Junior Offensive Lineman:

On his reaction to Saturday's scrimmage:

“I felt like we came out really hot, really on fire with a fast pace today. Everybody was excited to play on both sides. As we progressed, it became harder to make reads so we did a good job of adjusting in the second half and moved the ball while just trusting the process.”


2019 Catamount Football Preseason Practice Schedule:

Sun., Aug. 18 – Practice #14 – 1:45 – 3:15 pm (shells) – Special Teams Focus

Mon., Aug. 19 – No Practice – First Day of Classes

Tues., Aug. 20 – Practice – 4:15 – 6:15 pm

Wed., Aug. 21 – Practice – 5:30 – 7:30 pm

Thurs., Aug. 22 – Practice – 4:30 – 5:30 pm

* Practice times are subject to change


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