WKU football: Practice notes 8/7

7 08 2011

Western Kentucky’s yellow jersey club has a new member – junior receiver Marcus Vasquez.

Vasquez, the team’s leading receiver in 2010 despite missing the final three games with a collarbone injury, joined running back Bobby Rainey and tight end Jack Doyle as players who will be given the ‘hands off’ rule during practice for the forseeable future.

WKU coach Willie Taggart introduced the yellow jersey concept prior to last season with Rainey, who rarely gets touched during practice, before extending it to Doyle – the team’s best tight end – after the junior tight end suffered a lingering neck injury that cost him five games last season.

Despite the yellow jersey, though, Vasquez is back in the field in full-go mode – saying that he’s feeling better than ever.

I got a chance to speak with Vasquez about a number of topics today – for more on that, see this week’s Daily News.

McNeal progressing

Taggart told reporters following practice this afternoon that sophomore receiver Willie McNeal is ahead of schedule with rehab on his injured right knee.

McNeal suffered ligament damage to the knee during spring practice, and at the time, Taggart dubbed him out for the entire 2011 season.

On Sunday, however, Taggart explained that McNeal was moving along faster than originally planned. The second-year coach wouldn’t say one way or another if McNeal has a chance to get on the field this season, but did seem encouraged by the progress.

McNeal was third on the team last season with 26 catches for 360 yards and two touchdowns as a true freshman.

Lightning strikes again

For the second straight day, WKU had its practice interrupted by a lightning flash.

The Hilltoppers were forced to head back inside and wait early this morning before returning to the field. And unlike Saturday, both the true freshmen and the veterans had to practice at the same time.

Taggart said it didn’t alter plans too much, though, and that everyone was able to get the same amount of reps that they would have originally received without the poor weather.

Young sits with sore knee

WKU sophomore safety Kiante Young sat out of practice today to rest a sore knee.

Taggart said that Young had minor knee surgery toward the end of the summer to repair some slight damage, and joined the team for a full practice on Saturday.

But Young then suffered some swelling to the knee, and was given Sunday off to rest.

For a full update on day two – see Monday’s Daily News





WKU football: DT Jamarcus Allen suspended for the Kentucky game

7 08 2011

Western Kentucky football coach Willie Taggart confirmed to reporters today that junior defensive tackle Jamarcus Allen has been suspended for the team’s Sept. 1 season opener against Kentucky at LP Field in Nashville.

Taggart said that the reason for the suspension was a “violation of team rules,” and would not specify any further.

Allen – who is practicing with the team at the moment – entered fall camp after perhaps the best spring of his career, and was expected to start at defensive tackle for WKU once again this season.

The 5-11, 282-pound Allen started all 12 games for WKU in 2010, registering 26 tackles – 4 1/2 for loss.