Taggart hopes to ‘solidify’ WKU depth chart with scrimmage

Head Coach Willie Taggart will be finalizing his depth chart soon with WKU’s season-opener against Kentucky just a little more than a week away. He said Wedneday’s scrimmage would play a big role in solidifying it.

Brad Stephens

WKU coaches are starting to develop more of an idea

who will see playing time when the season begins in eight days.

And Head Coach Willie Taggart said a scrimmage during

Wednesday’s practice will go a long way in determining who takes

the field against Kentucky on Sept. 1 at L.P. Field in


“For a lot of the guys, if they want to be on the

bus, this is the last time for them to show that they can (make the

travel team),” Taggart said.

The second-year head coach said he hoped to

“solidify” the offensive line during the scrimmage.

Junior Seth White and sophomore Ed Hazelett are all

competing for time at right tackle, while juniors Luke Stansfield 

and Adam Smith and sophomore Luis Polanco are vying for playing

time as guards.

Taggart added that the scrimmage would likely be

“really, really important” in determining the kicker job.

Senior Casey Tinius and sophomore Monte Merrick have

received the majority of kicking reps throughout fall camp, but

freshman Jesse Roy is also competing for the spot.

At linebacker, sophomore Xavius Boyd started seven

games a year ago and is expected to lead the linebacking corps in


Boyd called the scrimmage “a day to get better.”

He said he wanted to see the linebackers become more

familiarized with using defensive coordinator Lance Guidry’s

schemes in game situations Wednesday.

“Today we’re really going to brush up on anything we

don’t understand and the coverages we’ve been going over,” Boyd

said. “(The linebackers) really want to make sure we’re on the same

page and know each other’s positions so we know where they’re

supposed to be and where we’re supposed to be.”

Taggart said he was looking for an intense,

fast-paced scrimmage that will mentally and physically prepare the

Toppers for the regular season.

“We want our guys to go play football in a game

situation,” Taggart said. “We want to knock all the kinks out, see

our guys play fast and execute.”

Robinson Ready to Return?

When WKU lost Willie McNeal to an anterior crucate

ligament tear in spring practice, the Toppers lost not only their

leading receiver from 2010, but also their main punt and kick


With McNeal likely gone for the year, a battle has

developed over who will fill the returners’ role.

Getting many of the reps in fall camp has been

sophomore cornerback Tyree Robinson.

Robinson returned two kickoffs for touchdowns during

his days at Haines City High School in Dundee, Fla.

But he still said he was “shocked” when WKU coaches

told him to return kicks.

“I hadn’t done that since I was in high school,”

Robinson said. “But the coaches have helped me learn how to catch

the balls on punts and stuff like that and I’m ready to take it


Robinson discussed how he’s learned the importance of

using blockers on punt returns versus sometimes being a blocker

himself on kickoff returns. 

“For example, when I catch a punt I expect for

blockers to be there, because they go hard against each other in

practice so I know they’ll go hard against teams they don’t know,”

Robinson said. “With a kickoff return, I may be an off-returner so

I’ll be the one blocking.

“I know if I was a returner I’d want my off-returner

to be the first man to lay someone out for me so I’m going to stick

my head out and get blocks.”

Taggart said Tuesday that he sees Robinson as someone

that could make plays anywhere on the field.

“I think I could put him at running back and he’d do

a good job for us,” Taggart said. “I think wherever he plays he’s

one of those types of kids that loves football and will do whatever

he has to do.”