Western Carolina’s spring training program is about to kick into high gear in the coming weeks.
The spring semester for a football team is a time for players to work on perfecting their craft, and in some cases, get adjusted to a new coach or scheme. Western is going through all three, particularly on defense.
“Anytime you have a new coordinator coming in and a new scheme being implemented, it’s going to be brand new for everybody so everyone is going to start with a clean slate,” head coach, Mark Speir, said.
Director of Football Operations, Dan Gibson, stressed the importance of competition during the offseason.
“The older players do have a bit of an advantage as far as knowing their assignments and the playbook. But with the new system coming in this spring, everyone will have to compete day in and day out to prove that they can do it,” Gibson said.
The offense lost two starters, in wide receiver Spearman Robinson and center Ethan James, while the defense lost four players in defensive ends Avery Worsham and Daniel Nash, safety Fred Payne and cornerback Trey Morgan. To address these open positions on National Signing Day on Feb. 1, Western signed 21 players, 10 of which play defense.
The players do have an extra motivational factor this spring when looking ahead to the first game of the season against Hawaii. Out of the 105 players they currently have, roughly 64 will make the trip to Hawaii on Sept, 2.
Coach Speir emphasized the limited number of seats on the plane and that it will bring the best out of the team this spring so they can make the travel squad. The 2017 football schedule has two FBS, Football Bowl Subdivision, opponents in Hawaii and UNC Chapel Hill.