Sand in the hourglass is running out – and quite frankly, Bobby Petrino is fine with that.

“It’s certainly that time of year where you’re ready to play a game,” he said.

“We’re tired of seeing each other and hitting each other. It’s time to play a game.”

The first-year WKU coach has seen over the past few practices that his team is ready to play, just days away from facing Kentucky in the 2013 season opener at LP Field in Nashville.

He unveiled his first official depth chart Monday morning and named junior Brandon Doughty the starting quarterback. The Hilltoppers took Monday off and are scheduled to return to the fields today through Thursday to make final preparations for the contest.

“That’s always a fun time for me because I love going through the process and how we introduce what our schemes are and how we go out and practice it and how we have our players understand what our plan is and what we expect from our opponent,” he said. “That’s one of the fun things about football for me and for our staff.”

The Tops have already spent some time studying UK, a team they beat 32-31 in overtime last year. But times have changed, as have the coaching staffs on both sides and a good chunk of the rosters within both programs.

Western Kentucky will go into the week – as it did in 2012 – as underdogs.

“You know, I don’t really read into that,” senior center Sean Conway said.

“We’re just going down to Nashville to play ball. Just another team. We want to win, obviously, and that’s what we’re going to do.”

Conway has been snapping the ball for the majority of fall camp to Doughty at quarterback. Petrino tabbed him the starter unceremoniously Monday by placing his name atop the depth chart over redshirt freshman DaMarcus Smith.

Doughty’s play Saturday – and the rest of the season – will go a long way in determining WKU’s success.

“He had a good camp,” Petrino said. “He had a good spring. He’s a young man that is very, very coachable. Really understands what we’re striving for. Does a nice job of getting the ball out and is an accurate thrower and has done a nice job on his leadership.”

Petrino said Doughty, along with the rest of the team, has been moving in the right direction throughout fall camp, much to his liking. The team had a mock game Friday at Houchens-Smith Stadium where they went over substitutions and different tempos.

This week, Petrino and his staff have the difficult task of preparing for a Kentucky team with new coordinators on both sides of the ball and a new head coach – the same task Kentucky must tackle when looking in WKU’s direction.

And while Petrino said that’s a big issue, he also pointed out both staffs will find out a lot about their own teams at the same time.

“I’m excited about our football team,” he said. “I think we’ve done a lot of good things. We have a lot of improvement that we need ahead of us. We’ll line up Saturday night and see where we’re at.”

— Chad Bishop covers Western Kentucky University athletics. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/MrChadBishop or visit bgdailynews.com.

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