WKU practice update 8/13

13 08 2010

Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart said after practice this morning that the battle for the Hilltopper starting quarterback job continues to be hotly contested – explaining that the staff is ‘nowhere close’ in terms of naming a starter.

“It’s still even,” Taggart said. “Guys are mixing in there and it’s great because they’re competing. One guy makes a good throw and the other comes back and makes one, too – which is good, because that’s what it’s got to be about right now.

“But we’re nowhere close to naming (a starter) because of how close they are. They’ll do some good things, they’ll do some bad things – but I do like where we’re at.”

Taggart did say that junior Matt Pelesasa and sophomore Kawaun Jakes have indeed began to separate themselves a bit from true freshman Brandon Doughty.

“I would say that Jakes and Matt are really close together, but Brandon’s coming,” Taggart said. “He’s not that far behind for being a freshman, he’s picking it up well. That speaks volumes for that kid because he’s not that far off – we have three guys here that we could probably do something with.

“And it has to continue to be that way.”

Taggart maintained again this morning that there will not be a dual-quarterback situation for the Hilltoppers this season, meaning that one player – and one alone – will get the starting job at some point before the season.

“One of them is going to have to separate themselves,” Taggart said. “Because we’re only going to have one.”

The race itself could pick up quite a bit next week, as WKU gets into the two-a-day routine beginning Sunday.

Avery Hibbitt

With this morning being WKU’s first official workout in full pads, Taggart was asked which players stood out to him at first glance considering the circumstances.

His answer was none other than former Bowling Green High School standout Avery Hibbitt.

Taggart announced earlier this week that Hibbitt – a junior – will switch back to his original position of running back for this season. Hibbitt had been moved to the defensive backfield by former coach David Elson for the majority of the past two seasons.

Hibbitt ended his career at BGHS as the school’s all-time leading rusher with an impressive 3,652 career yardage total.

Hampered in the backfield by a lack of overall size during his redshirt freshman campaign, Hibbitt (now 5-9, 180) has added some bulk in his time with the WKU program and still seems to possess the shiftiness as a runner that made him so effective in high school.

“He’s really good with the ball in his hands,” Taggart said of Hibbitt. “We’ve got to do a good job as coaches to put the ball in his hands and let him do what he’s good at – that’s why we put him back there and I think he’s excited about it.

“Avery knew that he was an offensive player. I didn’t see the emotion in him playing defensive back, that’s not the Avery Hibbitt I knew before I left. I think this has put some more excitement in him and it’s allowed him to go back to doing what he does best.”

Taggart said that Hibbitt will be brought along slowly in terms of what he’s asked to do, but one thing folks can be sure of this season is that Hibbitt will get opportunities to catch the ball out of the backfield.

Taggart stressed that a big part of the West Coast Offense is finding a way to get people the ball in space, and that includes a great deal of tosses to running backs.

Specifically on Friday, Hibbitt made a nice over-the-middle catch from Pelesasa for about 15 yards. Starting back Bobby Rainey also made quite the play in the receiving game today, grabbing about a 40-yard touchdown heave from Pelesasa during a scrimmage situation. The play seemed to be a bit of a jailbreak before Pelesasa forced a throw off his back foot that sailed over the entire defensive backfield and into the arms of Rainey.

Leave us alone

One interesting note from Friday was the fact that WKU offensive line has made it known to the media that they will not be conducting interviews this season until the team wins a football game.

Apparently they’re quite serious about it, because the WKU media relations staff had quite a bit of trouble cornering senior offensive tackle Preston King for a quick talk about an upcoming gameday program.

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One response

13 08 2010
TopperFan

Sounds like to me that Taggart and the staff plan on RS young Doughty. Listening to his press confrence something I picked up was Taggart mentioned in a sentence “both” QBs are competing then he back track and said all three in another sentence. I do feel that young Doughty is the best prospect and the (Real Deal) of the other QBs. He has unbelievable potential and the future looks really good for WKU as for the QB position. I do feel next year Doughty will be the starter. The reason I mention the younger players because it will take a few years to build and those are the players that will eventually turn the program around. Go Topps….

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