Top WKU football position battles: Quarterback

5 07 2010

With all this basketball news over the past few weeks, it seems like Western Kentucky’s upcoming football season has been pushed to the back burner. 

But with fall camp now around a month away, let’s go ahead and start moving it forward. 

Today will start a series of blog previews for the 2010 WKU football team. 

We’ll start out with the top three position battles. I’m not one for beating around the bush, so let’s get after the spot most people want to discuss – quarterback. 

First-year coach Willie Taggart jokingly got after me a bit earlier this spring when I referred to WKU’s current quarterback situation as a ‘controversy.’ So for now, let’s just call it a logjam. 

Quarterback:

Favorite: Matt Pelesasa (6-1, 236 jr.)

Also under consideration: Kawaun Jakes (6-3, 185, so.), Brandon Doughty (6-3, 190, fr.)

Western Kentucky junior quarterback Matt Pelesasa (right) holds off linebacker Ben Duvall during this past April's spring game at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Alex Slitz/Daily News

 

Pelesasa grabbed this one by the throat during spring practice for two reasons: Jakes injured his ankle in a pickup basketball game (earning himself a front row seat in Taggart’s dog house) and he was the most consistent performer on the field – not just at his position either. Expect him to outlast Jakes and get the start at Nebraska to kick the season off.

Pelesasa is confident, has the size and possesses a pretty accurate throwing arm – not to mention he tosses probably the best deep ball that I’ve seen a WKU quarterback throw since arriving in Bowling Green during the 2007 season. But with all the positives come a great deal of questions. He’s never actually played in an FBS-level game – so while he’s heard of how fast things move, he’s never actually seen it. He had stellar numbers at the JUCO level, but can he translate them to the 1-A level? And can he be the leader that this team desperately needs as it attempts to find its way out of this heinous 20-game losing skid? Time will tell.

This is a big moment for Jakes, however, as he has to prove to Taggart that he’s committed to this program – if he doesn’t, he’ll likely fall behind another Taggart recruit in incoming freshman Brandon Doughty. Unlike Pelesasa, we all know exactly what Jakes is capable of at this level. He showed real flashes of brilliance last season at times – especially during his 22 of 28, 276 yard, two-touchdown performance at Navy. But he’s yet to impress the person who matters most –Taggart himself.

As far as Doughty is concerned, if Taggart is true to his word, the freshman from Coconut Creek, Fla. will get his shot at the starting job.

A Rivals.com three-star drop-back passer, Doughty obviously didn’t sign to sit the bench – so we’ll see how quickly he adapts to the college game.

As far as former Franklin-Simpson standout Courtney Dalcourt is concerned, the re-injury to his surgically repaired knee during spring ball was a giant setback. One I’m not sure he’ll be able to overcome at the quarterback spot. I could definitely be proven wrong, but when Dalcourt returns to health – don’t be shocked to see him change positions.

Brass Tacks: Whoever wins this job will have a lot of work on his plate. He’ll have to own the huddle, he’ll have to find a way to make plays with a relatively unheralded receiving corps and he’ll have stay on the field. WKU hasn’t had a consistent option at quarterback since Justin Haddix graduated in 2006 – ironically, also the last season for Willie Taggart as an assistant coach at WKU before departing for Stanford. WKU hired perhaps the greatest quarterback in its football history to resurrect the program, now it’s time for Taggart to find the player who becomes the face of that resurrection.

… On Tuesday: Wide Receiver

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