Taggart undecided between Jakes, Doughty as starting QB

Quarterback Kawaun Jakes loses his helmet after meeting a wall of Navy defenders in the first quarter of WKU’s 40-14 loss at Smith stadium.

Brad Stephens

What we do know: In the third quarter of WKU’s 40-14 home loss to Navy Saturday, Head Coach Willie Taggart benched starting quarterback Kawaun Jakes for backup Brandon Doughty.

What we don’t know: Will it be the redshirt freshman Doughty or junior Jakes that starts this Saturday against Indiana State? 

Head Coach Willie Taggart said on Monday he didn’t know either.

When asked at the team’s weekly press luncheon who his quarterback would be against the Sycamores, Taggart replied by asking, “Who’s your quarterback? You guys (the media) have all the answers—tell me who’s your quarterback.

“It’s always been a quarterback battle,” Taggart said. “They’re both going to get (practice) reps, and we’ll see.”

Jakes had drawn criticism after WKU’s opening loss to Kentucky when he threw for fewer than 100 yards while giving up four interceptions.

However, he showed signs of improvement early against the Midshipmen.

Jakes finished 7-of-12 for 51 yards with an interception against Navy; though to his credit, he didn’t get much help from his receivers.

Junior receiver Marcus Vasquez dropped two catchable first-quarter passes, and redshirt freshman Joel German ran what Taggart called a wrong route on Jakes’ lone interception.

But a third-quarter fumble in which Jakes dropped the ball on a pump fake caused Taggart to insert Doughty.

“I just felt like we needed a spark and wanted to try something new,” Taggart sai Saturday after the game. “We saw the same thing we’ve seen in our offense — that it hasn’t been going anywhere — and wanted to see if we could get going.”

Doughty then sparked both the offense and a quarterback controversy by marching WKU down the field on his first series, setting up a one-yard touchdown run from senior running back Bobby Rainey.
Doughty went 5-of-9 on the drive for 70 yards, including a 13-yard completion on a 4th and 10 to German.
Following the game, Rainey said that he started seeing an energy boost in the offense once Doughty began completing passes.
But Doughty threw for just 32 yards the rest of the game and had an interception returned for a Navy touchdown.
“They both did some good things,” Taggart said. “Brandon probably did a little worse than Kawaun, but that comes expected from not playing a lot.”
Taggart added that Doughty needs to work on the mental aspects of the quarterback position and said he needs to become a “film rat.”
“Brandon’s a kid that has a lot of talent to be really good,” Taggart said. “Athletically, he can make all the throws. Mentally, he’s not where we need him to be as a quarterback yet.”
Neither Jakes nor Doughty were made available for comment over the weekend to discuss the situation.
Taggart insisted that whoever gets the start against Indiana State will be the team’s quarterback for that game and that there would be no platoon system between the two.
So who will that quarterback be?
“We’ve got a whole week of practice to go through,” Taggart said Monday. “Whoever we feel like gives us the best chance to win will play.”
In other words, stay tuned.