Western Kentucky’s first official practice under coach Jeff Brohm felt more like a bowl preparation than a spring workout.
Still, the Hilltoppers braved blustery conditions Tuesday for about 21/2 hours in their initial practice of spring ball at Houchens-Smith Stadium.
“I thought the first day went well,” Brohm said. “Our guys had energy. They were eager to be out there. I think it’s important to be a hungry football team. I think our guys worked hard, put in a good long day of work and there’s a lot of things to teach from, but I liked the first day.”
Brohm, in his first season as head coach after spending the 2013 campaign as offensive coordinator under Bobby Petrino, conducted his first spring much like his predecessor, overseeing periods of individual and group drills while spending most of his time with the offense.
That offense returns senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, but loses record-setting running back Antonio Andrews to graduation.
“I think offensively we’ve got to continue to develop the quarterback position,” Brohm said. “I think we’ve got to find playmakers on offense at the receiver position and get better at that position so we can throw the ball up the field a little bit.
“Running back, we’re going to lose a great one (Antonio Andrews), so we’ve got to keep improving (junior) Leon (Allen) and get backups ready for him as well. Tight ends have been a stable position for us; we’ve got to develop depth there to continue for those guys to get better.”
Brohm and his squad will hit the field again at 4 p.m. today.
Western Kentucky will be without two defensive backs for spring practice – redshirt senior Cam Thomas and redshirt junior Prince Charles Iworah.
Thomas is still recovering from offseason shoulder surgery. The Paterson, N.J., native started all 12 games in 2013 and made five interceptions.
Iworah is a member of the WKU track team and will remain with that program through the end of its season. He played in 10 games in 2013, totaling 10 tackles.
There also are a few additions to the WKU spring roster.
Leverick Johnson, a 6-foot-1-inch, 190-pound defensive back from Northwestern High School in Miami, signed with WKU in 2013 but did not join the program until this season and is listed as a redshirt freshman. Linebacker Isaac Tanner (6-foot, 220) also signed with WKU in 2013, but is now listed as a true freshman.
Two local talents are now eligible on the squad – redshirt junior Jon Richardson, a 6-1, 215-pound tight end from Logan County High School, and redshirt sophomore Jordan Bryant, a 6-1, 210-pound linebacker from Warren East High School.
Other players who redshirted in 2013 and are now eligible include: defensive linemen Evan Tinsley (Edison High School, Alexandria, Va.), Daevonte Dawson (Eastern, Louisville), Trae Jones (Chattahoochee County, Cusseta, Ga.) and Jabari Jordan (Trinity, Louisville); kickers Michael Bryar (Eastern, Louisville) and Patrick Bowles (Bowling Green); defensive backs Juwan Gardner (DuPont Manual, Louisville), Joeshawn Starks (Lone Oak, Paducah), De’Andre Simmons (Royal Palm Beach, Royal Palm Beach, Fla.) and Shawn Lacey (Southern, Louisville); wide receivers Deon Yelder (Southern, Louisville), Donte DeSalle (Page, Franklin, Tenn.) and Kylen Towner (St. Paul’s Episcopal School, Mobile, Ala.); linebackers Brandon Ray (Bob Jones, Madison, Ala.), Tanner Reeves (Jenkins, Lakeland, Fla.) and Daeshawn Bertram (Trinity, Louisville); offensive linemen Chandler McPherson (Monroe County, Tompkinsville), Jimmie Sims (McDonogh 35, New Orleans), Donald Rocker (Sandalwood, Jacksonville, Fla.) and Justin Martinez (Centennial, Port Saint Lucie, Fla.); tight end Rashaan Allen (Fort Knox High School).