BOWLING GREEN, Ky. — WKU Football got back out on the Feix Field turf on Monday
morning for the fifth team practice of fall camp. With only 24 days remaining until
the Hilltoppers’ season opener vs. Central Arkansas on Thursday, Aug. 29 at 6:30
p.m., head coach Tyson Helton is challenging his eager players with new situations
every time they step on the field.
“Today was more of a red-zone emphasis day and it was our third day of working on
third-down situations,” he said. “Our young guys are getting a lot of reps and
picking up things quickly and our veterans are doing a great job of being leaders
and coming to work every day. It’s really about developing the whole team.”
One of those veteran leaders is junior safety Devon Key, who leads WKU returners
with 24 career starts and 165 tackles. He was a Conference USA Honorable Mention
selection last year after earning an All-Freshman Team nod in 2017. In 2018, Key
tied for the lead among Hilltopper defensive backs with 71 tackles and three
interceptions, while also adding three tackles for loss and six pass breakups.
“Everybody has been coming out with energy every single day and it’s [the
upperclassmen’s] job to keep them excited throughout camp about the upcoming year,”
the Lexington native said. “We go out there and work every day, no one has a
solidified spot so every day is a grind and trying to take that number one spot.
It’s good competition.”
With the offense’s grasp of new offensive coordinator Bryan Ellis’ scheme coming
along nicely, Key and his teammates on defense continue to make even bigger strides
in defensive coordinator Clayton White’s system.
“The experience that I’ve gotten from the past two years is big going into year
three,” Key said. “I feel like everybody can play and everybody knows exactly what
Coach White wants from us.”
With a two-game personal interception streak going into the 2019 campaign, Key’s
main goal is to help the WKU defense produce more turnovers. The Hilltoppers were
plus-two in the turnover battle in 2018, edging their opponents by an 18-to-16
overall margin. In terms of points off turnovers, WKU was plus-21 on the season with
a 69-to-48 overall advantage.