WKU football tidbits

20 09 2010

On second thought

Upon further review, Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart says he doesn’t feel like Saturday’s 38-21 loss against Indiana was a “step back” for his football team.

That’s exactly what Taggart called the performance immediately following the game Saturday at Houchens-Smith Stadium, but after reviewing the film, Taggart had a different take Monday.

“I thought we played better, I’m going to stop answering those questions after the game,” Taggart said. “I’m going to wait until Monday after I’ve watched the film because sometimes you have a feeling about things not being right, but you don’t know until you’ve watched the film and it might not be as bad as you thought it was.

“That’s what happened after going back and watching the film. I kind of regret some of the things I said and some of the things I said to our team – we did do some things better than we had been.”

Those things Taggart said he was talking about were  run defense (WKU limited the Hoosiers to just 100 yards on the ground Saturday) and energy overall. He also pointed to several younger players finding a way to step up and produce as a positive.

As for the negatives? No amount of film reviewing changed any opinions there.

“I thought first and second down on defense we were lights out, where we were wanted to be, third down though, we didn’t,” Taggart said. “That was the biggest disappointment.

“We lose a little focus and like I said after the game, we’ve got to learn how to deal with the highs and lows. But you go through some of those things with a team that’s still trying to learn how to win.”

Injury updates

Taggart said Monday that the team will have to wait and see about the status of junior safety Mark Santoro for this week.

Santoro went through a bit of a scary moment during the third quarter Saturday when he laid motionless on the ground for several minutes after a tackle attempt.

Santoro was eventually helped up to his feet, and did in fact walk off the field under his own power, but Taggart said the severity of the injury wasn’t known as of Monday.

“I’ll know later on today,” Taggart said. “He hurt his neck, I saw him after and it didn’t look as bad as it did on the football field. He’ll be evaluated later today.

“Out there it (looked) more like a neck (injury), it could have been a concussion, but we’ll find out.”

Senior offensive lineman Mychal Patterson also left the game with an undisclosed injury, but Taggart said “he’s a tough guy,” indicating that the injury wasn’t serious.

“We’ve got some tough guys,” Taggart said. “Our guys are different, they’re not the average player. The doctor says they’ll be back in five weeks, they’re back in one. That’s what we need around here.”

Heading home

For Taggart, assistant coach Raymond Woodie and a slew of players, Saturday’s game at South Florida will mark somewhat of a homecoming.

Taggart and Woodie hail from the Bradenton area, which is near USF’s campus in Tampa.

Taggart actually has somewhat of a history against the Bulls himself, as he rushed for 206 yards and three touchdowns for WKU during a 31-24 victory over USF on Oct. 17, 1998.

In fact, WKU was actually the first “visiting” team to ever win a game at Raymond James Stadium. Heading into that 1998 contest, USF and the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers were a combined 2-0 in the facility – which made its debut on Sept. 20, 1998.

As far as Saturday goes, though, Taggart says he wants his team to be more concerned with impressing their opposition – and not the large contingent of friends and family in the stands.

“We’ll have a lot of family and friends down there, that’ll be nice,” Taggart said. “But I want our football team to play well and I want them to play the way we’re capable of playing.

“It’s always about pride, they’re all going to be there, your family and friends. You want to go out and impress them, impress your parents and make them proud. And I want to do that again. But I want our football team to impress South Florida. When we leave there, I want them to be impressed with our football team.”

Corner changes?

After Saturday’s loss, Taggart said that two of the young players that stepped in and performed well were freshmen cornerbacks Arius Wright and Tyree Robinson.

Robinson and Wright got plenty of playing time in the second half in place of starters Jamal Forrest and Derrius Brook – who were on the field for most of a first half that saw Indiana rack up 230 passing yards.

While he wouldn’t say for sure if Wright or Robinson would get starts Saturday against USF, he did say he expects both to see more playing time.

“We’re going to play guys that can help us win ballgames and that can do what we ask them to do,” “If you don’t produce, bad things happen, if you do, good things happen.

“We’re still evaluating our roster.”

Asked what else needs to improve in the defensive backfield in terms of pass coverage, Taggart said overall confidence.

“They’ve got to be confident,” Taggart said. “I don’t know if it’s because of the level of competition we’re playing, or what. But if you watch them on film, it doesn’t look like they’re playing with a lot of confience. You have to have confidence playing corner, and I don’t think those guys played with a lot of confidence.

“They younger guys got in there, and maybe because they don’t know any better, they played with a lot of confidence and got some things done.”

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