FOOTBALL: Offense redeems itself in Friday practice

If spring practice were a tug-of-war, Western’s offense finally started to pull its weight on Friday.

After struggling to get past the defense consistently this week, Head Coach Willie Taggart said he saw some life from his offense today — at least from a mental standpoint.

“They had a lot of energy today,” he said. “They were executing plays and holding blocks. We weren’t doing that the other day.”

Taggart said the offense might have felt a little less pressure today in what seemed to be a more relaxed practice without pads on.

Taggart talked about why he thought the offense was struggling this week and said they were trying to do more than they needed to and weren’t focusing on their individual tasks.

But he reiterated that as the offensive coordinator, he’s often critical of the offense until he sees the practice film.

“It’s never as bad it seems and it’s never as good as it seems,” Taggart said. “But the offense is coming around. They’re getting it.”

Taggart said one thing that stuck out to him in Friday’s practice was how aggressive the offense played in comparison to Tuesday’s and Thursday’s practices.

“I don’t like soft football teams,” he said. “I want guys to be able to come out and be able to hit somebody. I want guys to go out and hit someone really hard every time we step out there.”

Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen said despite the solid week put in by the defense, he’d like to see his unit get more aggressive as well.

“We’ve had some days where we just didn’t look good tackling, and that’s big time.” he said. “We need to get a little more nasty and get off blocks. If we do that, the rest will take care of itself.”

The Toppers will play their second scrimmage of the spring on Saturday, and Taggart said it will be a little different from last Saturday’s.

As opposed to the situational drills that the team ran in their first scrimmage, Taggart said Saturday’s scrimmage will be more of a game setting. Players will get to move the ball down the field instead of running set plays from certain yard lines.

“Last week we wanted them to understand what to do in certain situations,” he said. “But now we want to let the guys get out there and play and see what they can do without anybody out there.”

Taggart said Saturday is going to be an important day for the offense because they’re trying to gain some consistency.

“Offensively we haven’t been winning,” he said. “That should be motivation enough to come out here tomorrow and try to win.”

Saturday’s scrimmage begins at 3 p.m. at Smith Stadium and is open to the public.

Cole Claybourn

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