Cullowhee, N.C. - With the University on its annual Spring Break, the Western Carolina football team is five practices into its spring drills, holding its fifth schedule session back on Thursday afternoon on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. The team is enjoying the break with plans to return to the practice field in late March, counting down to the annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, on Saturday, April 9.
Practice opened with two helmet-only sessions in the acclimation period with the team putting on shoulder pads for the first time this spring on March 12. WCU practiced in full pads twice this week on both Tuesday, March 15 and Thursday, March 17 with the latter practice representing the first this spring with full contact.
Each practice session has included a return to fundamentals on the individual, unit, and team levels for both sides of the football. Defensively, new coordinator Dustin Landry and his staff have spent a lot of time teaching and installing the defensive scheme – and equally as important – the defensive terminology.
On offense, coordinator Brad Glenn and his coaches have put in a lot of time in trying to determine the next quarterback to replace all-time career all-purpose yards leader, Troy Mitchell. Rising junior QB Wes Holcombe, who has completed 17 of his 31 career pass attempts for 142 yards, has split time with redshirt freshman Tyrie Adams – a SoCon Indoor Track & Field champion in the men’s high jump – and classmate Kalen Whitlow so far this spring in competition for the quarterback position.
Several key names for WCU have been limited during the first five spring practices. On offense, tight end Tyler Sexton, who is coming off a broken arm suffered at Texas A&M, has been limited, as has running back Detrez Newsome, who had wrist surgery. Both have been going through individual and unit drills, but no contact. Offensive lineman Nathan Dalton (chest/ribs) has also missed spring due to an injury.
Wide receiver Terryon Robinson has returned to form amidst a deep receiving corps, taking reps alongside top returners Steffon Hill (38 rec., 457 yds, 2 TDs), Spearman Robinson (24 rec., 354 yds, TD), and C.J. Goodman (20 rec., 234 yds).
On the defensive side of the ball, DB Keion Crossen has been limited following off-season shoulder surgery, while DE Andrew Mayton has returned to the practice field following knee surgery that sidelined him in 2015, though limited.
WCU returns to the practice field on Tuesday, March 29 in shells – or helmets and shoulder pads – before going again in full pads on the final day of the month on Thursday, March 31. 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 2016 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, 2016. Fans can call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401.
Upcoming 2016 Catamount Football Spring Practice Schedule:
(schedule subject to date/time changes)
WCU Spring Break -- March 18-27
Practice #6: Tuesday, March 29 (shells) – 4 pm
Practice #7: Thursday, March 31 (full pads) – 4 pm
Practice #8: Friday, April 1 (shells) – 4 pm
Practice #9: Saturday, April 2 -- scrimmage (full pads) – 1 pm
Practice #10: Tuesday, April 5 (shells) – 4 pm
Practice #11: Thursday, April 11 (full pads) – 4 pm
Practice #12: Saturday, April 9 -- Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo (full pads) -- 1:00 pm
Practice #13: Monday, April 11 (helmets) – 4 pm
Practice #14: Tuesday, April 12 (shells) – 4 pm
Practice #15: Thursday, April 14 (shells) – 4 pm