BOWLING GREEN, Ky. – For the first time in Tyson Helton’s 19-year coaching career,
he wasn’t coaching a position, correcting a quarterbacks eyes, or making sure his
receivers were running routes to perfection.
Instead, he was the observer watching from the center of Feix Field in Thursday
night as his Hilltoppers went through the first of 15 spring practices under his
For the first-year head coach, it was a welcome albeit frustrating change of pace at
“I had to catch myself,” Helton said. “I kept peaking over there at the offense too
much. I have to make sure I get down there on the defensive side of the field too.
It was good, and we finished on time so I guess day one was good.”
For the players, it was the conclusion of a long winter conditioning program that
has them up as early as 5 a.m. working out with the strength and conditioning staff.
Based on Helton’s observations through the first day, however, that work is already
“I thought it was a really good practice. The guys were fired up. It was really
organized so my hats off to the coaches and players who bounced around. I saw a lot
of really good things out here today, so we have to keep building off of that.”
Though the Hilltoppers return nearly every starter on offense and six from last
year’s starting defense, Helton, as with most new staffs, emphasized that every
starting position is up for grabs under his direction.
“Every position (is up for competition). I told the players, ‘No one has a starting
job. You’ve got to earn your job every single day. You’ve got to prove yourself
every single day.’ That’s life in general. These guys have to come out here and show
(the coaches) they deserve to be the starter.”
WKU will return to the practice field on Thursday, and all practices this spring are
open to the public. Spring practices conclude with the annual Red vs. White Spring
Game set for April 13 at 2 p.m.