Western Kentucky started spring practice on Thursday

Hilltoppers head coach Mike Sanford was impressed by his team's efforts on day one of spring practice

The Mike Sanford era at Western Kentucky took a huge step on Thursday as the Hilltoppers worked through the first day of spring practice.

The team took the field at Houchens-Smith Stadium with the sun breaking from behind afternoon clouds and shined brightly throughout the day's work.

"It was a great day. It was great to be back on the grass in an unbelievable environment to do it in with great weather,” Sanford said, adding that he liked the way the team approached day one.

"I thought the energy and enthusiasm was outstanding."

After the team completed its individual work, the focus turned to installing the portions of the offense and defense with both sides of the ball enjoying some success.  With the WKU school song blasting through the speakers when a touchdown was scored and the sound of an airhorn signaling a turnover, the sounds of each were frequent on Thursday.

"We struck up the band a few times offensively with a few explosive touchdowns down the field, but defensively, we got some turnovers as well," Sanford said.

Any concern of potential offseason rust building on quarterback Mike White disappeared quickly, with Sanford stating "we have a good one" following the performance of the senior.

"If there was any rust, it’s just the newness of what he’s doing from a communication standpoint, the newness of what he’s doing from a footwork standpoint in the run game," he said.  "I was very pleased with Mike’s work today. He was out there commanding an offense that he doesn’t necessarily know in and out, but it did appear at times he did."

Sanford, who said that he anticipates having "60 to 75 percent of the offense installed" before the spring game, was equally impressed by the excitement brought by both the players and new coaching staff.

"The game of football is fun when you bring unbelievable passion and enthusiasm and that came across not just from the players, but also the coaching staff," he said.

WKU will continue spring work on Friday at 4:15 pm.  Practice is open to the fans.

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