UWA football six days into camp with no surprises

LIVINGSTON, Ala. – West Alabama head football coach Brett Gilliland has seen his team through six practices since preseason camp began – two in helmets, two in shells and two in full gear – and he hasn’t changed his mind.
With 28 seniors and 19 returning starters on offense (9), defense (7) and special teams (3), the former Tiger quarterback is expecting great things from this 2017 team, his fourth at West Alabama.
“We are pretty close to where we thought we would be. We didn’t have a lot of unanswered questions coming into fall camp,” Gilliland said. “Obviously, there are concerns in certain spots, as there always are, but a lot of our guys have put a lot of offseason work in and it shows.
“It shows with their effort at practice, and it shows when they are not passing out with the tempo we practice with,” Gilliland said. “We like to exert them in practice, to push them. They are responding well to that.”
Any remaining questions will begin to be answered when the Tigers conduct the first game-type scrimmage of camp Saturday morning at Tiger Stadium. Gilliland and his staff will put the Tigers through their paces in full gear Thursday and in shells Friday prior to the scrimmage.
“The scrimmage will be the first true test, especially for some of the new guys, and it will be the first big test for the quarterbacks,” Gilliland said. “Instead of getting four-play sets, you are going to get a drive. Let’s see which quarterback drives the team and moves the offense.”
Junior Harry Satterwhite, who has played in 13 games and passed for more than 1,300 yards over the last two seasons, emerged from spring as the leader at quarterback, but is being challenged by Gabe Tiller, along with newcomers Austin Bray and Jacob Murphree.
“Will know a lot more after Saturday as far as who goes where and can begin moving forward some on game prep,” Gilliland said. “We have a good football team. We still have things to iron out, but we like the athleticism that we have.”
One thing Tiger fans might notice is a more athletic, faster defense. Gilliland said he liked the work of defensive backs Tevin Madison and Khalia Hackett, along with defensive linemen Michael Williams, Terrence Jones and Ashton Derico. Madison transferred from Texas Tech and Hackett from Arkansas.
Saturday’s scrimmage is open to the public with just a couple of caveats.
“The scrimmage is open, unless of course you are an opponent,” Gilliland said. “We also won’t accept any videoing during the scrimmage, so if you come with a video camera, we will ask you put it up. (Strength coach) Joe Boyd will be on video patrol.”
The team takes the field at 10:15 a.m. and scrimmaging should begin around 10:30.