Linebacker Blake Boyd will not return to the WKU football team for the 2009 season due to academic issues and defensive back Ryan Beard has been suspended for the first two games of the season for a violation of team rules, Head Coach David Elson announced today.
"Blake made significant contributions to our defense in many ways, and this is certainly disappointing news for our football team," Elson said. "It will also be a challenge not having Ryan for our first two games against very strong opponents. However, adversity reveals character and this presents a tremendous opportunity for other players on our team to step up and fill the void. I feel very good about this football program in so many ways, and I am confident we will overcome these setbacks."
As a junior in 2008, Boyd started 11 games and ranked second among all Hilltoppers with 67 total tackles while leading the team in tackles for loss (9.5) and sacks (3.5).
Boyd played high school football at Madisonville. He enrolled at Louisville before transferring to WKU.
Beard, a freshman in 2008, saw action in 11 games with 10 starts and posted 41 total tackles and a team-high three interceptions.
Beard will miss WKU's opener at Tennessee on September 5 and home opener against South Florida on September 12 before returning to action against Central Arkansas on September 19.
WKU is the newest of the 120 member Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A) in 2009 and will be eligible for a bowl berth and the Sun Belt Conference championship.