April 7, 2014
Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina continues its annual spring drills on-campus this week, on the turf of E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. However, due to the unfavorable forecast for the afternoon and early evening, the WCU coaching staff has moved Monday's scheduled practice No. 11 to Tuesday evening with a 5:30 pm scheduled start time.
WCU held its most extensive scrimmage of the preseason last Friday (April 4), going for nearly two full hours in what was the 10th practice session of the spring.
"We had a lot of good performances on both sides of the football," said WCU head coach Mark Speir on his squad's second scrimmage session of the spring. "Overall, I'm pleased with where we are at - I feel we have made great improvements as a football team. We've got to continue to work to clean up techniques and our fundamental principles to play disciplined football, but feel we are making good progress."
He added, "On offense, I really liked the way we are running the football. Our quarterbacks have to keep getting better with their decision-making and protecting the ball. Defensively, our secondary made some big plays and created a few turnovers in the passing game. Bottom line is that we've got five practice opportunities left this spring and we must be productive and take full advantage of each of them."
Two quarterbacks split the reps equally with both getting opportunities with the first and second units. Troy Mitchell threw for a team-high 202 yards on 12-of-26 passing with three touchdowns and two interceptions while Eddie Sullivan led the squad with 14 completions on 34 pass attempts for 125 yards and one pick.
Five different Catamount receivers finished the scrimmages with three pass receptions, led by Karnorris Benson who pulled down two of touchdown passes among the three receptions on the day for a total of 45 yards. Gary Richardson and Spearman Robinson finished with 40 and 39 receiving yards on the three catches respectively, with Steffon Hill totaling 28 yards. Tight end Michael Helms also caught three passes for 36 receiving yards.
Also catching passes in the scrimmage were receivers Jeff Moore, Aaron Pridemore, Willie Police and Terryon Robinson, as well as tight end Tyler Sexton.
A combined five players recorded rushes from scrimmage with the longest carry by wide receiver, Robinson, who picked up 43 yards on one rush. Running backs Shaun Warren and Detrez Newsome both toted the pigskin 16 times apiece and found the end zone once. Newsome just edged Warren with 71 total yards while Warren amassed 69 yards. Warren added a team-high four receptions out of the backfield for 20 yards while Newsome caught three passes for 74 yards and a TD.
The QB's Mitchell and Sullivan combined for 18 carries and 54 yards with Sullivan tallying 33 rushing yards and Mitchell scoring once.
On the defensive side of the football, 25 different players were unofficially credited with tackles during the scrimmage with the Catamounts recording four takeaways with one converted into a score. With the quarterbacks not live for contact, seven defenders combined for 10 sacks on the afternoon.
Four players finished with a team-high tying five tackles a piece led by linebackers K.P. Hicks and Daniel Riddle, as well as defensive back Fred Payne and defensive lineman Daniel Nash who was credited with four sacks. Linemen, Andrew Mayton tallied four tackles including a sack with John McBeth finishing with four total stops with two for loss and a sack.
Linebackers Avery Worsham and Bryson Jordan were credited with four tackles apiece, while linemen Caleb Hawkins and Helva Matungulu had three stops with one for loss and Kelvin Ume finishing with three stops including a sack.
Four different defensive backs finished with interceptions for the Catamount defensive unit. A.J. McKoy broke up two passes including his interception, returning it 58 yards for a touchdown. Ace Clark had three tackles including a TFL and an INT, with Trey Morgan and Shane Samuels also picking off the WCU quarterbacks in the scrimmage.
Western Carolina is scheduled for three practices prior to Saturday afternoon's annual Spring Game, presented by Wells Fargo, in Cullowhee. Please note that only the West Side Grandstands will be open for Saturday's Spring Game, and again this year, scrimmage will be streamed live with audio and video made available for free through CatamountSports.com. Fans wishing to tailgate at the Whitmire Stadium Lot on Saturday ahead of the scrimmage should contact the Catamount Club at (828) 227-3794 to reserve a parking spot.
All WCU spring football practices are open to the public. It is respectfully requested that spectators observe from the stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or the sidelines for safety.
Season tickets for the 2014 Catamount football season are on sale now through the Catamount Ticket Office or online at CatamountSports.com. Packages start as low as $80 for adults, $45 for youth. Contact the ticket office by phone at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401 to order your tickets for the six exciting home games at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field.
Upcoming Catamount Football Spring Practice Schedule:
(schedule subject to time/date changes)
Team Meeting: Monday, April 7 - 3:00 - 5:00 pm
Practice #11 - Tuesday, April 8: Full pads, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
Practice #12 - Wednesday, April 9: Full pads, 4:45 - 6:45 pm
Practice #13 - Friday, April 11: Shells, 4:30 - 6:00 pm
Practice #14 - Saturday, April 12: Full pads, Spring Game - 1:00 - 3:00 pm
Practice #15 - Monday, April 14: Helmets only, 5:00 - 5:45 pm