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Catamount Football Fall Report #7: Tuesday, August 13

Freshman Fred Payne (3) works with transfer Dante Stewart (17) during position drills on Tuesday afternoon. It was Stewart's second practice since joining the team.

Aug 13, 2013

Catamount Football Practice - Tuesday, Aug. 13, Photo Gallery

Cullowhee, N.C. - Rain and thunderstorms in the morning gave way to hot and muggy conditions on Tuesday afternoon as the Western Carolina Catamount football team returned to the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field for an 18-period practice in full pads that went the better part of two and a half hours.

WCU will hold its fourth two-a-day practice on Wednesday including a shells session in the morning with an emphasis on the kicking game before holding its second scrimmage of the preseason on Wednesday evening beginning around 5:00 pm.

Tuesday's workout included a lot of unit drills with the skill players spending a lot of time in the 7-on-7 while the linemen worked through competition drills on the opposite end of the field. The squad also ran through several situational scrimmage sessions including the two-minute drill with the offense wanting to run out the clock while the defense needed a stop to get the ball back.

Although the team was in full pads, only a few of the drills were full-speed as the team was instructed to "thud-up" in looking ahead to scrimmage sessions both Wednesday and Saturday.

"I'm seeing a lot of good things out here on both sides of the ball," said an upbeat WCU head coach Mark Speir to his players following practice.

Speir added that the one word he wanted his team to continue to focus on was "consistency."

The Catamounts rotated mostly between two quarterbacks on the afternoon with sophomore Troy Mitchell taking most of the reps with the first string and redshirt sophomore Eddie Sullivan seeing snaps with the second team - again, by design through the coaching staff this preseason. Redshirt sophomore signal caller Jawan Simmons, who was sidelined by a leg injury a season ago, was again forced out of practice nursing a turf toe injury that had him in a walking boot.

WCU's four different running backs caught passes during seven-on-seven drills with freshman wide receiver Terryon Robinson and senior Jamil James both hauling in scoring strikes against the defensive unit during 7-on-7 drills.

And speaking of the defense, Western Carolina's secondary picked up a late addition on Monday as Clemson transfer Dante Stewart (complete bio below) was cleared to begin practice for the Purple & Gold. A redshirt junior who matriculated from a walk-on with the Tigers' football team to earn a scholarship, Stewart spent both the second practice on Monday evening and Tuesday afternoon's session in just a helmet as a part of the NCAA acclimation process. He will go Wednesday in helmet and should pads (shells) and should be cleared for full pads by Thursday.

A native of Swansea, S.C., Stewart played in nine games over two seasons at Clemson as a reserve at cornerback.

Fans can keep track of many of the preseason activities through the Catamount Athletics social media outlets on Facebook (, Twitter (@catamounts), YouTube (CatamountSports) and Instagram (wcu_catamounts). Additionally, will be updated throughout the 2013 preseason.

#17 Dante Stewart
5-8, 185, Redshirt Junior
Swansea, S.C. (Clemson / Calhoun County HS)

2012 (Redshirt Junior): Transferred to Western Carolina during 2013 fall camp

Prior to Western Carolina: Was originally a walk-on who later earned a scholarship at Clemson in the summer of 2012 ... Redshirted in 2010 ... Played in nine games with one start between the 2011 and 2012 seasons as a reserve cornerback ... Recorded six career tackles over a combined 67 snaps including a career-high five tackles in 2012, three coming against Ball State ... Made his first career start at Duke in 2012 ... Played on special teams for the Tigers against #22 West Virginia in the Orange Bowl; High School: Was a two-way player who lettered at Calhoun County High and head coach Walt Wilson ... Played running back and defensive back as a prep, earning a bid to play in the North-South All-Star game as a senior.

Personal: Intended major is sociology.

This Week in Catamount Football:
Wednesday, August 14:
Practice #15, 9:45 am (shells)
Scrimmage #2 (Practice #16, full pads) 5:00 pm

Thursday, August 15:
Practice #17, 2:30 pm (shells)

Friday, August 16:
Practice #18, 9:15 am (full pads)
Defense Help with Move-In, 2:30-4:00 pm
Offense Help with Move-In, 4:00-5:30 pm

Saturday, August 17:
Scrimmage #3 (Practice #19, full pads) 10:00 am

Sunday, August 18:
Practice #20, 2:00 pm (shells)

Important Catamount Football Dates to Remember:
Wed., August 14 - Second scrimmage of preseason, 5:00 pm
Fri., August 16 - WCU Freshman Move-In Day
Sat., August 17 - Third scrimmage of preseason, 10:00 am
Mon., August 19 - First day of fall classes at WCU
Mon., August 19 - 2013 Catamount Football single-game tickets go on sale
Thurs., August 29 - 2013 Catamount Football season-opener at Middle Tennessee; Murfreesboro, Tenn. (6:30 pm CT / 7:30 pm ET)
Fri., September 13 - The Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament; High Vista Country Club in Mills River, N.C.
Sat., September 14 - 2013 Catamount Football home opener vs. The Citadel (3:30 pm)