Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina football held its seventh practice of spring drills on Saturday afternoon, conducting its first intrasquad scrimmage this spring on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. The team got through over 100 plays in just under two hours under mostly sunny and mild conditions that including a gusting wind.
Three quarterbacks split reps in the Catamount offensive backfield on Saturday. Returning starter Tyrie Adams completed 14-of-25 passes for 187 yards with two touchdown strikes of 23 and 34 yards, while adding 10 rushes for 27 yards and a score. Transfer signal caller Ray Smith connected on 10-of-19 passes for 106 yards, while Noland Beasley finished 3-for-4 for 15 yards in the scrimmage.
Eleven different individuals recorded catches on the day with Connell Young, who has been working out with the wide receivers most of the spring, leading the way with seven catches for 84 yards. Daquan Patten, the son of former Catamount receiver David Patten, caught four passes for 23 yards. Returning starter Terryon Robinson hauled in three passes for 37 yards including a 23-yard TD catch from Adams with Tyran Reynolds matching Robinson with three catches for 57 yards.
Aubry Payne was one of two tight ends to haul in passes on Saturday, making a pair of receptions for 41 yards including a 34-yard scoring strike from Adams.
On the ground, three different backs split the bulk of the reps with Corey Holloway leading the way with 21 touches for 68 yards, adding two catches for seven yards. James Foushee rushed 14 times for 45 yards, while returning redshirt Donnavan Spencer rushing for 32 yards on eight carries.
Defensively for the Catamounts, linebacker Chris Seaborn paced the squad with six tackles and a pass break-up. Four defenders finished with five tackles apiece led by linebacker A.J. Newman, who also deflected a pass. Newman was matched by Mikey White, with Mike Murphy adding a pair of forced fumbles to his five tackles. Defensive lineman Jake Helms was credited with four tackles, as was defensive back Marvin Tillman.
Though the quarterbacks were off-limits in the full-go scrimmage, WCU's defense recorded a total of 14 sacks. Tahjai Watt, who has had a very strong spring in moving from his defensive end position to outside linebacker, was credited with five sacks and a tackle for loss in a six-stop performance. Mid-year newcomer Nate Link had a pair of sacks, as did defensive end Jay Gibbs and DB Bryce Wilson.
The WCU specialists had a small part of Saturday's scrimmage. Ian Berryman punted twice for an average of 41.5 yards per kick including a long of 49 yards, while Destry Barnwell also kicked twice. Walk-on placekicker Josh Gibson connected on an extra point and split the uprights from 40 yards out on Saturday.
Western Carolina returns to the practice field two more times in the coming week before taking time off for Spring Break. The Catamounts will hold a session in shells on Tuesday, Feb. 28, before a fully-padded practice on March 2 ahead of the break. Unless otherwise noted, each WCU spring football practice is open to the public. It is respectfully requested, though, that spectators observe from the stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or sidelines.
Season tickets for all five home dates in 2017 are on-sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office and online at CatamountSports.com. Returning season ticket holders must renew their season tickets by mid-June, 2017. Fans can call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401.
Fans can keep track of Catamount football and spring practice through the Catamount Athletics social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Instagram (wcu_catamounts), and Twitter (@catamounts), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).
Upcoming 2017 Catamount Football Spring Practice Schedule:
(schedule subject to time/date changes)
Practice #8: Tuesday, Feb. 28 (shells) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
Practice #9: Thursday, March 2 (full pads) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
WCU Spring Break -- March 4-12
Practice #10: Tuesday, March 14 (full pads) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
Practice #11: Thursday, March 16 (shells) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
Practice #12: Saturday, March 18 - Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo (full pads) -- 1:30 pm
Practice #13: Tuesday, March 21 (full pads) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
Practice #14: Thursday, March 23 (shells) -- 4:30 -- 6:30 pm
Practice #15: Friday, March 24 (helmets) -- 4:00 -- 6:00 pm