Taggart backs Jakes

11 10 2010

Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart didn’t shy away from criticizing quarterback Kawaun Jakes about a rocky performance after Saturday’s loss at Florida International.

And though he was still critical of Jakes on Monday, Taggart said that Jakes is absolutely still WKU’s starting quarterback – and offered no indication that any change would be made.

“We’re not a circus and we’re not building a circus around here, we’re going to be consistent and he is our quarterback,” Taggart said. “He had a bad first half, but he wasn’t the only one. It’s a team game and a lot of guys had a bad first half – but he’s the quarterback, he gets the extra attention and he understands that.

“Everybody took turns making mistakes – coaches, too. When everyone settled down, we started to do things – it was just too late. Even then we still had a chance. But we shouldn’t have been in that situation. We have to make plays to win games.”

Taggart still put a lot of the blame on Jakes with regard to the offense’s terrible first half Saturday, but said that the quarterback wasn’t the only spot on the field that had its struggles.

“He missed some throws, but on some of them, the receivers didn’t help him,” he said. “On some that looked like they were overthrown, the receivers stopped running. They’ve got to keep running on some of those plays to get the result we’re looking for.

“But some of them, it was like, just close your eyes and throw it – and it should have gotten there. Kawaun understands that, he understands he didn’t play the way he’s capable of in the first half. He was playing like a robot and not instinctively. He was holding the ball rather than running some, he started doing that and we moved the ball – he played instinctively and started making some throws and brought our football team back, so that was good to see.”

Put up or shut up

Both junior running back Bobby Rainey and junior defensive end Jared Clendenin said Monday that the time has come for the Hilltoppers to stop talking about what a good team they could be, and starting proving it.

“There’s been a lot of talking lately and no action behind it,” Rainey said.”It’s frustrating, to know that we played better against bigger teams and then we face a team in our conference and don’t play as well. We don’t play to our level of expectation at all times, and we have to do that. If we do that, we’ll be alright.

“We can’t just talk about what we have to do, it’s about action. Talking’s not getting us anywhere. We have to come out ready to play.”

Clendenin agreed.

“We have to go out there and do it, talk is cheap,” he said. “Now we’ve got to be about it.”

Taggart himself said that he partly agreed with his players’ thoughts on the matter, saying that the time for action is definitely overdue – but continuing to encourage each other to keep getting better is also important.

“We didn’t do what we were capable of doing, we had opportunities and we didn’t take advantage of them,” he said. “We talk about being close, but it’s time to stop just being close and get a win – that’s where we’re at.

“We know we can play with anyone we’re playing with, now we have to do things that winning teams do.”

Big home game

Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Monroe marks WKU’s second home game of the season, as the Hilltoppers played four of their first five on the road.

Taggart said that not only is this weekend’s contest big from the standpoint of breaking a 25-game losing streak and getting on track in the Sun Belt – but also from the standpoint of bringing some excitement to the fanbase.

“It’s very important,” Taggart said. “These fans don’t have to be there for us, but they are and we owe it to them. Every day we wake up this week we should be thinking about them, and thinking about putting on a show for them. And giving them what they’ve been waiting for, for a long time.

“And not just them, but for ourselves also. We’re hungry for this victory – we need one and we need one bad. Everyone should go out there and leave it on the field, let them drag us off the field. That’s what winners do. They raise their level of play to do whatever it takes to win.”

 

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One response

11 10 2010
LG

Who cares? Still hadn’t won a game. No change in d-line so who cares? No sacks, nobody stopping the running game, so who cares?

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