Notebook: WKU players avoid speculation on quarterback battle

Brad Stephens

It’s the big question surrounding the WKU football program right now: Who’s the quarterback?

Ever since junior Kawaun Jakes was pulled Saturday in the Toppers’ loss to Navy for redshirt freshman Brandon Doughty, speculation has been raised as to who will start on Saturday against Football Championship Subdivision opponent Indiana State.

Head Coach Willie Taggart said Monday that even he didn’t know who would be his team’s signal-caller against the Sycamores, saying this week’s practices would determine whether Jakes or Doughty would get the nod.

Neither Jakes nor Doughty will be available for comment this week.

Other Toppers declined to go into detail Tuesday as to who has the upper hand in the quarterback battle.

“That’s Coach Taggart’s decision and whatever he chooses, the team has his back,” junior wide receiver Marcus Vasquez said. “I choose really not to discuss that situation. I’m just here trying to do what I have to do to help the offense move the ball.”

Senior running back Bobby Rainey said he has more experience working with Jakes but would be “fine” with either quarterback.

“We’ve been used to Kawaun as our starting quarterback, so therefore we’re familiar with Kawaun,” Rainey said. “(Kawaun) is who I go with when we go in practice. I haven’t got a chance to go with Doughty, but last week’s game, he did good when he was in.

“Whatever decision Coach Taggart makes about the quarterback, we’re fine with it and we’ll protect him back there.” 

Through two games in 2011, Jakes is 16-of-39 for 144 yards with five interceptions and one fumble.

Doughty’s only appearance came in the second half against the Midshipmen in which he went 12-of-21 for 102 yards with an interception.

Doughty threw for 70 yards on his first drive. Jakes thew for 51 the whole time he was in the game.

Offensive coordinator/wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni said Jakes and Doughty both “bring positive things to the huddle” and have handled the situation well.

“One brings some experience to the huddle, the other brings a newness to huddle,” Azzanni said. “They’re both working their butt off and they help each other.

“It’s great to watch them coach each other. Kawaun is Brandon’s biggest fan, and vice versa… They’re going to battle it out and we’ll see what happens.”

Scouting the Sycamores

One week after trying to find an answer for Navy’s triple option offense, the WKU defense will face a more conventional attack Saturday against Indiana State.

The Sycamore offense was led in Saturday’s 48-34 win over Butler by fullback Brock Lough, who ran for 131 yards and three touchdowns.

Quarterback Ronnie Fouch also had a strong showing, going 15-of-18 for 232 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive coordinator Lance Guidry said even though Indiana State is an FCS opponent, the Topper defense knows the Sycamores can score.

“They’re not going to give us the game,” Guidry said. “We’re going to have to go take it from them.

“(Fouch) escapes pressure really well. He buys time for the wide receivers to get open. He’s on the money with his passes, he’s not going to overthrow or under-throw anyone. We’re up for a challenge.”

Senior safety Ryan Beard said he’s glad to be facing a conventional offense after playing the Midshipmen.

“We want to get back to running around and flying around and hitting people like we did against UK,” Beard said. “Navy was something new that we had to adjust to and now we’re back to doing what we do best.”