WKU football blog: Padding it up

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Full-contact debut

The Western Kentucky football team worked through its first official fully padded practice Friday, as the team had been in helmets the first three days of the week and helmets and shoulder pads on Thursday.

WKU coach David Elson said that overall the first live day was a beneficial one.

“It was good, having the pads on slows things down a bit with the tempo, but I think we were operating pretty officially, guys were flying around and showing some enthusiasm and the weather being nice helped us out,” Elson said. “Overall I was pleased, but we’ll look at the film and see exactly how well we did.”

Injury update

Two notable players were held out of full-contact drills on Friday due to injury. Both sophomore quarterback K.J. Black – who is currently first on the depth chart – and senior inside linebacker Alonzo Higgins – who is also expected to start – sat out all of the contact drills with a sore hamstring and groin, respectively.

“K.J. has a sore hamstring so we’re trying to be smart there,” Elson said. “And Alzono, we’re being very cautious with his groin and trying to be smart right now to make sure they’re 100 percent.”

Each player did get work done, as Black did a good portion of throwing during quarterback only drills, while Higgins worked out on the sideline in shoulder pads and shorts – mainly on leg-focused drills.

Two other notable injuries that occurred Friday were to L.J. Harbison and Dan Cline. Harbison appeared to suffer an arm injury late in practice during full-contact drills, while Cline appeared to have some sort of lower leg issue. Elson didn’t seem overly concerned immediately after practice, but did say he was going to look into both players’ injuries as soon as possible.

Hit of the day

The biggest hit of the afternoon had to go to fifth-year senior defensive back Chris Franklin. Franklin had a clear shot at wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper on a hitch route and took the opportunity to unload on him, jarring the ball loose.

The hit sent the entire defensive sideline into an extreme celebration for around 30 seconds following the play. But not all of it was rewarded with high fives and applause, as Elson was quick to punish the entire defense with extra push ups after what he called an “excessive celebration.” It seems as if the coaching staff is doing all it can to avoid any situations similar to what happened at North Texas during the final game of last season.

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