Jakes still progressing

5 10 2010

First-year Western Kentucky quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford was asked Tuesday to evaluate the progress of sophomore starting quarterback Kawaun Jakes through the team’s first four games.

Sanford said there have been ups and downs like anything else, but he says the most important part of Jakes’ maturity as a West Coast quarterback is still missing.

“The only stat you’re looking for in a quarterback is win,” Sanford said. “Just like a pitcher in baseball. You want that guy to get on the mound, throw seven or eight innings and get the ‘W’ for you. That’s what I’m looking for.”

Sanford said that Jakes is continually improving with the overall grasp of the new offense, and seems to be getting more comfortable with the different reads and intricacies of the system.

One thing Sanford says Jakes doesn’t need to work on, however, is his overall toughness. Sanford  and coach Willie Taggart  have praised Jakes from the outset for his willingness to stand in the pocket, deliver a throw, take a hit and then bounce back on his feet.

Something that might actually be half the battle.

“When I grade the film, he’s doing some good things, he’s showing progress, his eyes are good, he’s seeing things,” Sanford said. “But toughness has been the most impressive thing. And that’s something I didn’t know how much we’d get from him at the start of the season.”

As for Jakes himself, he says things are starting to slow down as well – not just with the process of learning a new system, but also becoming an every down quarterback at the FBS level.

“It’s getting more comfortable,” Jakes said. “The speed of the game is starting to slow down, and we played some really tough opponents so far, I feel like I’m ready for this.”

Saturday’s game marks the start of WKU’s Sun Belt season, it also marks a string of eight games against opponents that Jakes has already seen –  he played against all eight SBC foes as a redshirt freshman last season.

Jakes says he’s ready to get a second crack at the league, and hopes to prove a thing or two along the way.

“I’m looking forward to it,” he said. “We left a lot of points out there last year, and this year, I’m just trying to get back at them.”

Sticking up for Tinius

Taggart said Tuesday that in no way has there been any hesitation to re-evaluate the kicking job after junior kicker Casey Tinius missed three field goals and an extra point two weeks ago at South Florida.

Tinius missed field goals of 50, 44 and 46-yards in the first half – and then missed an extra point in the second.

Despite the rough day, however, Taggart said he was more than pleased with Tinius’ ability to put the struggle behind him and focus even more on what’s to come.

“Casey’s our kicker and I’ve got his back, because he has our back,” Taggart said. “He had his day to pout, be mad and upset with himself and then he let it go. That’s how it should be. He can’t control that, he can only control what’s in front of    him now. Casey understands that.

“He also understands that he’s going to win a lot of ballgames for us.”

Injury updates

Both senior offensive lineman Mychal Patterson and junior safety Ryan Beard were in full pads this evening at practice, junior safety Mark Santoro, however, was not dressed.

Taggart said Monday that all three players – who each missed the USF game due to injury – returned to the practice field Sunday but did not specifically say if all three would be ready to play this weekend at Florida International.

Patterson is listed to start on the team’s two-deep, while Beard and Santoro are listed as backups behind Kiante Young and Kareem Peterson.

Coming Wednesday

Check Wednesday’s Daily News for a feature on the silent offensive line – a group that still refuses to talk to me.

Find out why on Wednesday.




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