Cullowhee, N.C. - Just a few hours after the second full intrasquad scrimmage of the preseason, Western Carolina's football team was back on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field for a two-hour morning practice session on Thursday.
Originally scheduled for a practice in full pads, the squad ended up working out in just shells with helmets and shoulder pads. The focus was back on fundamentals and getting better as players, coaches, positions, units and all together as a team.
"Even without us doing a lot of hitting today, I felt we were really sharp during today's practice. We really got a lot of things cleaned up with today's workout. It was good to see us bounce back, and I was proud of today's practice," said Speir.
After the practice session - which was the first of two on the docket for the day - Speir had a special surprise. Drills slated for the early evening were canceled, and instead replaced with a team-bonding trip which included access to the swimming pool and a cookout dinner at the Bear Lake Reserve.
The Catamounts return to practice on Friday morning before an afternoon filled with unit meetings and film study in-and-around the student-athletes assisting with WCU's annual Move-In Day for the incoming freshman class. The football team will again practice on Saturday morning - however, with the health of the squad at the forefront, the scheduled intrasquad scrimmage has been canceled.
The final practice session of the 2014 preseason is slated for Sunday afternoon ahead of the WCU Athletics Welcome Back Ice Cream Social, presented by the Dairy Queen of Sylva. WCU will break its 17-day preseason camp on Sunday evening.
Classes begin on-campus on Monday, Aug. 18. Western Carolina will begin preparations for its season-opening opponent - the South Florida Bulls - on Tuesday in the early evening as the squad moves into its regular seasonal practice schedule.
2014 Catamount Football - Upcoming Fall Practice Schedule:
Fri., August 15: Practice #17 - 9:15 am (full pads); 2:30-5:30 pm, Help Freshman Move-In
Sat., August 16: Practice #18 - 10:30 am (full pads)
Sun., August 17: Practice #19 - 2:00 pm (shells)
* Practice times are subject to change
Important Upcoming Dates to Remember:
Fri., August 15: Catamount women's soccer vs. UNC Asheville (exhibition) (7:00 pm)
Sat., August 16: Catamount football Intrasquad scrimmage (10:30 am)
Mon., August 18: First day of fall classes at Western Carolina
Fri., August 22: Catamount women's soccer vs. Eastern Kentucky (2014 home opener), 7:00 pm
Sat., August 23: Catamount volleyball preseason Cookout & Scrimmage, Noon - 3 pm
Sun., August 24: Catamount women's soccer vs. East Carolina, 2:00 pm
Mon., August 25: Catamount Football single-game tickets go on sale
Fri., August 29: Catamount cross country hosts the Western Carolina Invitational, 6:30 pm
Sat., August 30: 2014 Catamount Football season opener at USF in Tampa, Fla., 7:00 pm
Fri., Sept. 5: 10th Annual Bob Waters Memorial golf tournament; Maggie Valley Club, Maggie Valley, N.C.
Sat., Sept. 6: 2014 Catamount Football home opener vs. Brevard in Cullowhee, 3:30 pm
Tues., Sept. 9: Catamount volleyball vs. Charlotte (2014 home opener), 7:00 pm
Fri., Sept. 26: The Upstate Classic golf tournament; The Preserve at Verdae in Greenville, S.C.