BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — After WKU Football team practice wrapped up on Thursday
evening, senior quarterback Drew Eckels and the Hilltopper offensive line gathered
near the sideline and set up formation in front of the loudspeaker.
Cranked up to the max, tracks of crowd noise and House of Pain’s infamous 1992 hit
“Jump Around” alternated as Eckels practiced communicating with his protection unit.
With over 80,000 Wisconsin fans expected at Camp Randall Stadium when the
Hilltoppers face the Badgers on August 31, this is necessary preparation.
“It’s going to be a lot of help [because] Wisconsin has some great fans and it’s
going to be really loud,” Eckels said of the process. “I get the play and
protection, tell the offensive line the protection and snap count and then we’re
pretty much ready. We need to communicate as loud as we can, that’s the most
Only eight days remain until opening kick between WKU and No. 4 Wisconsin, which
will be broadcasted at 8 p.m. on ESPN. After three weeks of fall camp, the
Hilltoppers cannot wait to take the field against the Big Ten favorite in Madison.
“We’re hungry for sure,” Eckels said. “Underrated, underestimated, whatever you want
to call it. I like being the underdog and I think this whole team is okay with that
because we have something to prove.”
That blue-collar attitude resonates throughout the WKU locker room, especially in
the linebacker position, where junior Ben Holt was recently voted a team captain for
the 2018 season by his peers, along with senior defensive back DeAndre Farris.
“Dre and Ben are the best fit leaders for our team,” Eckels said. “They’re loud,
they walk the talk, they don’t mess around and they come out here and they work.
That’s the kind of people we want leading this team.”
With the honor, Ben joined his older brother Nick (2015) as only the second pair of
siblings in program history to represent the Red and White a team captain.
Previously, it was Lee (1962) and Elmer (1965) Murray.
Under defensive coordinator Clayton White’s scheme, the Hilltoppers play a 4-2-5
base defense, which will see Holt, along with Masai Whyte, Der’Quione Mobley,
Demetrius Cain, Eli Brown and others rotate into playing time at linebacker.
“There has been a lot of development and we just keep evolving,” Holt said of the
players at his position. “[Linebacker coach Maurice Crum] has been getting us all
right and we help each other out all the time. First we took baby steps and now
we’re taking big strides and things are going well.”