Taggart: WKU to get everyone’s best shot

21 10 2010

As the losses continue to mount for the Western Kentucky football program, one thing has become clear for the Hilltoppers.

They won’t be sneaking up on anyone. WKU coach Willie Taggart said Thursday that the longer the team’s 26-game losing skid stretches, the more likely the Hilltoppers are to get the best possible effort from every team they face from here on out.

“I’ll tell you what, we’re going to get the best shot from everybody – because nobody wants to be the team that loses to us,” Taggart said. “It’s not like we’re coming into games as the underdog and that’s it, we’re not in that situation. Teams don’t want to lose to us and be (that team that breaks the streak).

“That makes it that much harder, but it’ll make it that much better when it happens.”

Taggart said that the same situation is likely for Saturday’s contest at Louisiana-Lafayette, reiterating that the Ragin’ Cajuns – and every other team left on the 2010 schedule – aren’t going to overlook WKU and scratch the game off as an easy win.

“No one wants to be a part of that,” Taggart said. “We need to be able to do it ourselves, flip sides and let someone else have that agony.

“We’re down at the bottom, there’s no where else we can go but up. We’re there every single week, but it’s time to kick the door down – it’s time to stop knocking.”

Taggart and players alike have spent most of this week trying to forget the disaster that was last Saturday’s fourth-quarter collapse against Louisiana-Monroe.

But one thing that’s present this season that seemingly hasn’t been there over the past two years is the players’ belief that on a physical level, they can compete with anyone they step on the field with.

Meaning that at this point, the biggest hurdle left to climb is completely mental.

“Absolutely we’re physically prepared,” WKU junior safety Ryan Beard said. “And we’re prepared to be able to play with anybody in this conference. We have a great strength staff that’s been able to get us in the right spots, and we’re good there.

“We’ve got to play from start to finish, throughout, and have consistency.”

Andrews’ role expanding

Former Mr. Kentucky Football and current WKU freshman running back Antonio Andrews is starting to find himself on the field more often for the Hilltoppers.

Last week, Andrews completed a 37-yard halfback pass on WKU’s first play from scrimmage – and also served as the No. 2 running back behind junior Bobby Rainey.

Taggart says he’s impressed with Andrews’ ability both as an athlete and as a player that’s picked up the scheme rather quickly considering he didn’t make his practice debut with the squad until midway through fall camp.

Taggart said he hopes that with more playing time, and further development of his overall frame (he’s still just 190 pounds), Andrews could become a real force for the Hilltopper football program.

“He didn’t win Mr. Football for no reason,” Tagggart said. “He’s a playmaker and we’re trying to ease him in as we go and he’s coming along. I think he’s going to be one of the great players for us when it’s all said and done.

“I see Antonio being everywhere for us – in the backfield, at receiver, running at quarterback, doing everything. He’s that good of an athlete. … You see him do some things out there and it just looks effortless.”

Dalcourt progressing
Taggart said Thursday that redshirt freshman wide receiver Courtney Dalcourt took the field and ran pass routes this week, and the possibility still remains that the former Franklin-Simpson standout could make his Hilltopper debut before the close of the 2010 campaign.

Dalcourt is currently rehabbing his second knee surgery in as many seasons after coming to WKU as a highly-touted quarterback prospect in 2009.

Taggart said there is no real timetable for Dalcourt’s return, however, and that things will be taken slowly.

“He’s coming along fine,” Taggart said. “He’s doing some individual drills, he’s not ready for contact yet but he’s coming along – I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s not ready to help us out by the end of the year.

“We’re not going to rush it, not after the second (surgery). That’s a key.”

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