Cullowhee, N.C. - Spring ball turned into Snow Ball on Wednesday afternoon as the Western Carolina Catamount football team completed the sixth practice of its annual spring drills. Having already experienced blustery, winter-like conditions earlier this spring season, the Catamounts welcomed in the first day following the spring equinox in shells -- and sweats, gloves, heavy coats, and toboggans.
"Snow during spring football," said head coach Mark Speir through a smile in referencing the conditions Wednesday following his squad's frigid two-hour workout. "Even today, the guys came out with a great spirit and a great attitude of wanting to get better every day."
Like many of the sessions for WCU this spring, the two-hour practice featured 13 periods with position, unit, and team periods. Rotation at nearly every position across the field continued Wednesday as Speir and his staff continue to get as many reps for as many players as possible through the spring.
"There's nothing like experience, and that's what a lot of these young guys are getting this spring -- especially on defense in going against some of our veteran offensive players. And then offensively up front, we're getting a lot of our number two's, the young guys on the offensive line a lot of reps, too," said Speir.
He added, "I'm excited where we're at -- a lot of energy. We're continuing to build off last year -- and though we had some success, we didn't finish the way we wanted to. We've really come out and focused on the fundamentals and the techniques to go along with the effort that our guys always play with."
Among a few of the highlights in the skelly and scrimmage periods through the driving snow showers on Wednesday were an interception by DB John Brannon III and big receptions in the two-minute drill including a scoring strike to WR Connor Moore and a big-gainer by Kenny Benton on a toss to the left-hand side long.
Practice for the Catamounts continues Friday, March 23 as the squad is slated to work out in full pads for two hours with the session to include the largest scrimmage period of the spring. WCU will practice again on Monday, March 26 before taking a break until early April for the Easter holiday.
WCU's annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, is set for Saturday, April 7 with a 1:00 pm start at Whitmire Stadium / Waters Field. Gates will open at Noon in a day that includes pregame tailgating and a Catamount baseball game vs. SoCon-foe, UNCG, later in the day with a 4:00 pm first pitch.
Season tickets for all five home dates in 2018 are on-sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center, and online at CatamountSports.com. Returning season ticket holders must renew their season tickets to secure the same seats by June 29, 2018. Fans can call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401. General admission season tickets for adults begin at just $75 with additional Purple and Gold Reserved and options in the Western Builders Inc., Family Zone seating options also available.
Fans can keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports) and Twitter (@catamounts), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).
Upcoming 2018 Catamount Football Spring Practice Schedule:
(schedule subject to time/date changes)
Practice #7: Friday, March 23 (full pads) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #8: Monday, March 26 (full pads) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Easter Break: March 27 - April 1 -- No Practice
Practice #9: Monday, April 2 (full pads) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #10: Wednesday, April 4 (full pads) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #11: Friday, April 6 (shells) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #12: Saturday, April 7 - Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo (full pads) -- 1:00 pm
Practice #13: Monday, April 9 (shells) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #14: Wednesday, April 11 (shells) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm
Practice #15: Friday, April 13 (helmets only) -- 4:15 -- 6:15 pm