WKU’s Jakes unfazed by hit, looking to build on last week’s performance

WKU's Jakes unfazed by hit, looking to build on last week’s performance

Brad Stephens

WKU players and coaches took a lot of positives from the team’s 49-10 loss to Nebraska Saturday.

However, if there was one play that quarterback Kawaun Jakes would love to forget, it would be the second quarter hit in the chops from Nebraska’s Jared Crick that drove Jakes into the turf.

Jakes said it was the hardest he’s ever taken, but that it comes with the nature of a physical game.B

“I watched it on film twice, but I really don’t like to see it,” Jakes told reporters after practice Wednesday. “But it’s football, and that’s why we put on pads.”

He said the game gave him a confidence boost, specifically that he “could lead the team in the right direction.”

Jakes had high praises for Kentucky’s defense, saying the Wildcats are a fast and physical team, and even that they “are quicker than Nebraska.”

Because of Kentucky’s defensive speed, the possibility remains that more running backs could see action this Saturday after Bobby Rainey took every snap in Lincoln.

Among those in contention for carries would be junior Avery Hibbitt, the corner-turned-running back.

“We were ready last week, but Bobby’s number got called, and he did pretty darn good,” Hibbitt said. (Rainey rushed for 155 yards on 30 carries in the opener.)

“Coach Taggart came up to me in a meeting joking and said, ‘When are you gonna help your boy (Rainey) running the ball,’” Hibbitt said. “I told him I was ready.”

The game will be a reunion of sorts for Hibbitt, safety Ryan Beard, kicker Casey Tinius, and Kentucky offensive linemen Stuart Hines and Ryan Wallace.

All five were teammates at Bowling Green High School.

Beard said the possibility of playing against one another at the next level came between the teammates during their days at BGHS.

“We’re blessed to be able to go out there and play with each other again,” Beard said. “We always joked in the locker room about one playing against each other on the big stage and now there’s nothing left to do but enjoy it and have fun.”

Beard said the defense has been focused this week on tackling, as missed tackles plagued the Toppers against Nebraska.

Beard said the unit has been working “technique-wise with short collisions” instead of all-out full contact because “you don’t want to knock people out before the game.”

“We’ve been focused on having our feet in the right place and bringing the hits,” he said.