WKU offense still progressing through three spring practices

Junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes runs a play during spring practice drills on Friday afternoon at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Jakes enters spring ball as WKU’s No. 1 quarterback.

Emily Patton

Head Coach Willie Taggart said he couldn’t remember having a practice like Friday’s in a long time.

It was the first time practicing in full pads this spring for the Toppers, and Taggart said he could tell it brought an added enthusiasm to the squad.

“I am fired up about this one,” Taggart said. “I told the guys afterward, ‘Take this practice and make all your practices like that, and we’ll have a heck of a football team.’ We practiced like we were playing today.”

Taggart said the defense still has a definite jump over the offense, but the offense is showing improvement compared to where it began last spring.

“They aren’t far behind — not like we were last year,” Taggart said. “Defense has gotten better, which is making us better offensive-wise.”

The Toppers will practice Saturday with full contact for the first time.

Jakes ready to lead Toppers

Junior quarterback Kawaun Jakes said Friday that his goal this spring is to fully step into his role as a leader for the team.

“Coach Taggart has been talking to me about being a leader over the whole offseason,” Jakes said. “I just got to come out and make the practice live. I need to make it enjoy it more and feel like I have a lot more on my shoulders.”

Jakes started all last season as quarterback for the Toppers, but Taggart has continued to encourage the competition at that position with freshman Brandon Doughty.

Regardless, Jakes said the whole offense has a strong relationship with each other.

“I’ve been talking to (senior running back) Bobby Rainey, (junior tight end) Jack Doyle and all the guys over the break,” Jakes said. “After last year, everybody wants to come out and compete, have fun and get better work.

“It is a comedy show. We all eat dinner together, and now we don’t even talk about what we are going to do later. It’s just all football with us.”

Doyle’s health improving

Doyle said his neck is ‘doing better every day.’

Doyle, who missed the majority of last season with a neck injury, has been wearing a yellow jersey this spring to limit his contact while practicing.

“This is the best way to get (my neck) where it needs to be for the fall, and that’s what we’re looking to do,” Doyle said. “I try to help the younger tight ends as much as possible, trying to get them to understand and used to the kind of things we do and stuff like that, but it definitely gets boring.”

With it being just the third day of practice, Doyle said the offense still has a lot of work to do.

“There are always little kinks — things you got to improve on — but we’ve got to get better every day, and that’s what we’re going to do every day,” Doyle said.

Vasquez not practicing this spring

Although junior Marcus Vasquez sat out the first days of practice hoping to return, it was confirmed Friday that he will miss the entire spring.

The wide receiver from Chula Vista, Calif., broke his collar bone late in the 2010 season.

The Toppers are already short at the position, with just two receivers currently on the field that caught a pass last season.