Doughty preparing for first season as starting QB

WKU junior quarterback Brandon Doughty takes practices reps in preparation for Saturday’s game against rival Kentucky. Doughty is replacing three year starter Kawaun Jakes. Ian Maule/Herald

Elliott Pratt

Brandon Doughty has experienced a whirlwind of events in his time at WKU. From an anterior cruciate ligament injury following a promising shot at the starting job in 2011 to mop-up duties last season, Doughty has been patiently waiting for his time to come.

That time will finally arrive Saturday night, when WKU takes the field against Kentucky at 6 p.m. at LP Field in Nashville.

Coach Bobby Petrino officially named Doughty the starter with the release of the team’s depth chart earlier this week.

“He had a good camp,” Petrino said. “He had a good spring. He’s a young man that is very, very coachable. He really understands what we’re striving for and does a nice job of get- ting the ball out and is an ac- curate thrower and has done a nice job on his leadership.”

Though Petrino would not name an official starter until Monday, he and the other coaches had made it clear that Doughty was the front runner for the job even as far back as last spring, when he started for the first-team in the spring game.

Doughty has waited patiently and is excited his time has finally come.

“It’s awesome,” Doughty said. “God’s blessed me so much and going through that (ACL) injury I was away from game planning not as much as I wanted to do. This year,

I’m really studying that film and meeting with Petrino and meeting with coach (Jeff) Brohm and really getting after it.”

At one time, Doughty’s college football career looked to take flight after entering the third quarter of the 2011 game against Navy replacing a benched Kawaun Jakes. Not much more could be asked of Doughty in that game, throwing 12-of-21 for 102 yards and a touchdown on his first drive.

His performance earned him the starting job the following week against Indiana State, but it was short lived — three plays, to be exact.

Doughty’s starting debut was cut short by an ACL tear on a scramble down the sideline.

The next season, Doughty found himself at the bottom of the depth chart clocking in for relief against Austin Peay and Southern Mississippi. His season stats consisted of one completion on three attempts for seven yards.

Those numbers standing alone aren’t going to win a starting quarterback job, especially when playing under coach Petrino.

But his willingness to learn at a high rate early in the year will have him starting against the Wildcats Saturday.

“I’m excited,” Doughty said. “It’s my last season. I want to go out on top. I’m excited about the season, excited about our team. We have a chance to be really great.”

Before the spring game began, the quarterback position was a three-way battle between Doughty, redshirt sophomore James Mauro, and redshirt freshman Damarcus Smith.

Mauro, who was the favorite to succeed Jakes at the end of last season, left the program in May, opening the opportunity for Doughty to prove that his patience has paid off.

Doughty’s strong performance in the spring game and throughout the summer work- outs earned a vote by his team- mates in favor of him becoming one of the captains.

“It was unbelievable,” Doughty said when captains

were announced. “Words can’t express how blessed I am. After coming through the ACL (injury) and stuff and being at my real low point like that and actually getting some confidence back with my teammates and showing that my teammates really have my back, that’s the biggest thing.”

Senior center Sean Conway has been there to see every high and low of Doughty’s career and said his advancements in the offseason speak for themselves.

“He’s done excellent,” Conway said. “This offseason is real complex, and he’s picked it up faster and more better than anybody I’ve been around. He’s been doing great.”

The pressure of the quarter- back in Petrino’s offense can be quite the load, but Doughty isn’t worried. He’s been waiting for this moment for a long time.

“I’m anxious right now,” Doughty said. “…I know God’s in control, and He’s got my back out there. I have nothing to worry about. Fear no man, fear the Lord. I’m excited.”