Cullowhee, N.C. - Western Carolina held its second scrimmage of the 2017 preseason fall camp on Wednesday morning on the turf at E.J. Whitmire Stadium / Bob Waters Field. After working out in full pads on Monday and a shells-only practice Tuesday, Western Carolina hit the turf for an hour-long practice ahead of its second scrimmage which also lasted right at an hour.
The majority of Wednesday morning's scrimmage centered around in-game situations including short-yardage, end of half/game scenarios with limited clock, and trying to move into position needing a score as time wound down. All told, the squad ran just over 75 plays during the hour-long period in full pads.
"We started off today just trying to correct some things in individuals and having a normal practice for the first hour to get some more teaching done. And then we scrimmaged for about an hour where most of the theme was time-management -- putting our offense and our defense in hard spots and tough situations," said WCU head football coach Mark Speir. "We wanted our guys to go out and not only compete with effort and execution, but today we put the added part of that time management and being a complete football team."
He added, "I thought that it was a great day as far as getting some mental part of the game established. We've got to get them healed up and have our last scrimmage Saturday and be ready to go."
After all seven quarterbacks participated in the hour-long practice segment on Wednesday morning, the bulk of the reps were split between three signal callers in red jerseys during the scrimmage. Redshirt sophomore Tyrie Adams completed 8-of-16 passes for 80 yards and two touchdowns, adding 41 yards on nine carries and a score despite being in the protected jersey.
Eleven different receivers caught passes for a combined 147 yards during the scrimmage. Redshirt senior Terryon Robinson led the way with five catches for 30 yards while both sophomore Connell Young and freshman Keshaun Abel caught a pair of passes for 18 and 14 yards, respectively. Tight end Owen Cosenke caught a TD strike from Adams in a goal line situational set-up with running back Corey Holloway finishing off another scoring play through the air, working in connection with Robinson.
Also for WCU, returning receivers Ty Reynolds (21 yds) and Jordan Mathis (19 yds) had impressive receptions during the scrimmage.
On the ground, Adams led with 41 rushing yards while local product in freshman Caleb Ferguson ran nine times for 39 yards and a touchdown. Senior James Foushee rushed four times for 20 yards before being helped off the field with a lower extremity issue, while Holloway tallied a third score on the ground for the offense.
Defensively, converted linebacker Tahjai Watt had a strong scrimmage for the Catamounts, credited with five tackles including three for loss and two sacks. The Charlotte, N.C., native also broke-up a pass and tallied a quarterback hurry in flushing Adams from the pocket. His linebacker counterpart Jerod Walls was credited with six tackles including one for loss.
Three Catamount defenders recorded interceptions with linebacker Trevor Childers and defensive back Shamon Elliott recording a tackle in addition to their pick, while sophomore defensive back John Brannon tallied three stops and a pick. Childers returned his INT 60 yards, walking a tight rope down the defensive sideline on the impressive return.
In special teams, freshman kicker Joel Poinsette split the uprights twice in the scrimmage, connecting from 36 yards out despite the ball being tipped at the line of scrimmage and again from 38 yards away.
WCU will practice in shells the remainder of the week on both Thursday and Friday morning ahead of Saturday's final scrimmage of preseason camp with "Meet the Cats" fan fest to follow. Speir commented that the next two days at practice would involve a lot of teaching and technique refreshers as fall camp heads down the home stretch. Looking at Saturday's scrimmage, Speir stated that his squad will start to turn its attention to its season-opening opponent.
"We'll have a quick, crisp scrimmage; everybody's going to play because after Saturday, we start narrowing down to our scout teams. And next week begins 100-percent preparation for Hawai'i. So, it'll mark the end of preseason and getting our first glance at our first opponent on Saturday."
All of WCU's preseason football practices are open to the public. It is respectfully requested, though, that spectators observe from the West Side stadium seating area and avoid being either on the field or the sidelines for safety. Also, practice times are subject to change.
Both season and single-game tickets for all five home dates of Western Carolina's 2017 football season are on sale now through the WCU Athletics Ticket Office, located on the first floor of the Ramsey Center and online at CatamountSports.com. Fans can also call the ticket office toll free at (800) 34-GOWCU or (828) 227-2401.
2017 Catamount Football -- Upcoming Fall Practice Schedule:
Thursday, Aug. 17 -- Practice #17 -- 9:15 am -- 11:15 am (shells)
Friday, Aug. 18 -- Practice #18 -- 9:15 am - 11:15 am (shells)
Saturday, Aug. 19 -- Practice #19 -- "Meet the Cats" Scrimmage, 1:00 - 3:30 pm (full)
* Practice times are subject to change
Important Upcoming Dates in Catamount Football:
Friday, Aug. 18 - Western Carolina University Freshman Move-In Day
Saturday, Aug. 19 - Football Scrimmage No. 3 and "Meet the Cats" following practice
Monday, Aug. 21 - First day of fall classes; "Solar Eclipse Blackout Uniforms" Facebook LIVE event presented by Stanberry Insurance
Saturday, Sept. 2 - 2017 Catamount Football season-opener at Hawai'i -- 6 pm HT / Midnight ET
Friday, Sept. 8 - 13th annual Bob Waters Memorial Golf Tournament at The Maggie Valley Club
Saturday, Sept. 9 - 2017 Catamount Football home-opener vs. Davidson in Cullowhee, N.C. (BLACKOUT / Fireworks Night, presented by Ingles and iHeartRadio partners 99.9 Kiss Country and Star 104.3)
Friday, Oct. 27 - "The Mutt" Catamount Football Golf Classic at the Laurel Ridge Country Club
Keep track of everything related to Catamount football and WCU Athletics through its social media outlets on Facebook (fb.com/catamountsports), Twitter (@catamounts, @WCU_FB), and Instagram (wcu_catamounts), as well as video updates on the department's YouTube channel (CatamountSports).