Taggart on the ULM loss and Kawaun Jakes’ performance

18 10 2010

Willie Taggart had his weekly media availability this afternoon, here are a few snippets following WKU’s devastating 35-30 loss to Louisiana-Monroe on Saturday:

– Reaction to Saturday’s loss:

“I didn’t get much sleep Saturday night, I really hurt for our players first and foremost. Those guys are working really hard and they’re trying to get that gorilla off our back. I hurt for our fans, it was exciting seeing the crowd we had and they were in the ballgame and were a big part of the success that we had – and then to see it go the way it did, that, for me personally, made me feel really bad.

“We didn’t get it done for our players or our fans, and with what this program’s been through, that was tough. It was like someone stuck a knife in our side and just turned it. That’s why it hurt, because of everything we’ve been through – we were right there, we had it, and we didn’t get it done.”

“I think (that streak) weighed on our guys a long time ago. This is a storm that we’ve got to keep driving through, we can’t sit there and wait it out or we’ll get soaked. The sun’s on the other side. We’ve got to keep trying. … There’s nothing we can do about it now but learn and try not to let it happen again. We’ve still go six games and we’re not going to let one game just take us out, we have no other choice. It’s time to move on and get back to work.

“That was like a slap in the face. I haven’t been around for them all, but I’ve been around for six of them – and I can only imagine what the rest of our fans and players felt like after that game. We’ve got to stick with it, because the other way doesn’t work. Quitting isn’t going to make it better. We’re in this together and we’re all going to reap the benefits together (when it turns around).”

“It’s like the football God’s said ‘you’re not ready.’ They gave us a peek in the door and we didn’t rush the door. They’re taking us through the hardest situation possible and I truly believe it’ll make our football team better and it’ll make our young men better in life.”

– If he’s worried about the team ‘quitting’ on him after such a tough loss:

“No I don’t. All the guys here are in. I think they believe and are committed and I don’t think anyone will go that way, those guys are committed to making this work and get it corrected. It’s not like we’re not competing and don’t have a chance, we’re in these games. … At the end of the day, we’ve got to make plays and when we have people down – we’ve got to step on their throats. … You can’t practice those things, you learn from experience.”

– If he still feels like the group “panicked” during the fourth quarter

“Yes. The first three quarters our guys were loose, playing and having fun. Doing the things we were preaching, the sideline and everything was how we wanted it. We fed off the crowd and that was exciting. But where we’re at with our program, when we got into that tough situation, guys were afraid to lose the ball game. Guys were playing like ‘I don’t want to be the guy to mess up or lose this for us.’ Rather than being the guy that says ‘I want to be the man and the guy that wins this for us.’ We didn’t have that, we weren’t relaxed or free like we were over the first three quarters.”

– On how he felt the staff called the game Saturday

“You always second-guess yourself on playcalling. For myself, thinking back, I thought maybe I should have grabbed our team together and calmed them down. Talked about the situation we were in with this young football team that hasn’t had a lot of success. Our guys were playing hard, we just weren’t making the plays we were making earlier. Early in the game, we’re tackling guys and they’re going backward – late, we’re tackling them and they’re moving forward.”

– On Kawaun Jakes’ performance late in the game

“He was like the rest of our guys, he got tight and didn’t play relaxed (late). I do think he got hit more than he should have and I do think he got some happy feet, but that was because of all the pressure and unnecessary hits. I don’t care who’s in there, you keep getting hit like that, you’ll be looking for the next one, too. We weren’t physical blocking guys and we were hesitant.

“I’m (more confident in Jakes now than I was after the Florida International loss), he did a great job early. We were up 24-7 going into the fourth quarter and he was a big part of that. We got into that situation though, and everyone played tight.

“To go now and change everything, that’s panic mode. We’re not going to panic. We’re getting better every single week, and if we win that ballgame everyone around here would agree.

“I’ve already explained to Kawaun that he’s the quarterback, and unfortunately you’re a quarterback for a program that has been down and out – and he’s done a great job handling that situation. He understands that people from the outside are going to make their own opinion. Is that fair? No, because they don’t see the whole picture. Kawaun’s not the problem for us losing ballgames. This is a team game. But he’s the quarterback and the head coach on the field – it goes back to him if we do well or if we don’t. But it takes all 11 guys to get it done, he played well enough for us to win that ballgame. He’s getting better within our system, he’s a young kid that’s already been in two different systems.

“We haven’t had any consistency at quarterback around here – for a long time. The last time we had some consistency at quarterback, we won a lot of ballgames. It’s not going to be a circus. I know what everyone wants, we want it to – imagine how our players feel. I love those guys and I’m proud of them because of everything they’ve been through. We’re going to get there and when we do, it’s going to be nice.”

 

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5 responses

18 10 2010
TopperFan

Great job Coach Taggart. Hang in there it will get better. Doing a great job.

19 10 2010
FKozowski

Great teams have a hard time scoring 28 points in the 4th quarter, yet we managed to let one of the worst teams around do exactly that in this demoralizing lost to L-Monroe. Beyond unreal—a disgrace! This team and the program seem to be regressing under another stubborn leader who refuses to make any changes or adjustments. The last coach kept saying stay the course and that adjustments were overrated and we ended up with one of the longest losing streaks in history. The team played better against far better competition. Is that what the success of our program has come to; A win equals success. Yeah, based on odds alone, eventually a win will come, but what does that really mean?…Thank the football God that nobody loses forever.

19 10 2010
Vic

I agree with the overall message from Willie T. but at what point in time do you look for another leader if Jakes isn’t capable. Leadership is not a learned trait, either you have it or you don’t. I have come to the conclusion that there is a lapse in that department. You could see no urgency in Jakes in the last 3 minutes of the game. When you are down by 4 and it take you 15 of the 25 seconds you have on the clock to call a play, there is a definite problem. Does this team not know what a 2 minute drill is? Monroe did and they ran it all day long on us. Excuse me for the lack of excitement I have for this team. I’m just really tired of the same old excuses for the last 2 years.

21 10 2010
Samwky915

Look guys… you don’t take the mess Coach Taggart inherited and turn them into a winning team in 1 season… Patience is a virtue and when the W come… Several more will come quickly after (wait and see).
Also, I think Jakes is a good play. Yes, he gets a little quick when when the pocket is closing but you have to remember he is still only a sophmore and hasn’t had another player to mentor him like other colleges do, also he is behind a very undersized O-line.

Just wait and see, don’t get your panties in a wad. We have a lot of new players on the field and next yr everyone will be that much faster, stronger, more experienced and know their job better and we will see a completely different team next year!

22 10 2010
FKozowski

This generation like many before want immediate gratification and results now! Next year could present a whole new set of issues starting with coaching changes, player changes and the like. Football is unpredictable and coaches change jobs like the wind…whether for more money more fame or a million other reasons. Because there are no guarantees that a coach will stay, people want to win and they want to win now–just a reality across the college football spectrum, therefore coaches aren’t getting any passes from the media or the fans…it is becoming one and done. Tomorrow is not promised.

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