NOTEBOOK: WKU’s Vasquez settling in at receiver after transition from quarterback

Zach Greenwell

This story was originally published Aug. 26, 2010.

It’s no wonder that sophomore receiver Marcus Vasquez was disappointed with himself at wide receiver last season. He said he didn’t really understand the position.

Vasquez was recruited as a quarterback but switched to wideout last season, starting three games at receiver. He finished the year with 19 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns.

“The hardest part was maybe just learning how to play receiver,” Vasquez said Thursday. “Playing quarterback, I know how to read defenses and I know the routes, but actually running the routes was probably the hardest thing. I’m a lot more comfortable.

“I wasn’t a great route-runner last year, and being a receiver, to get open, you’ve got to be a great route-runner.”

Vasquez has had an up-and-down fall camp, making both the spectacular catch and the head-scratching drop.

Taggart said he’s been impressed with the sophomore, although he’d like to see him “make every catch.”

“He’s starting to understand what it takes to play receiver, and he’s starting to grow up,” Taggart said. “He’s starting to mature a lot more now. I’ve watched him this camp, and he’s having a phenomenal camp. He still has a lot more improvement to make, but he’s a talent. He can really help our football team. He’s been totally different from the spring, and I appreciate that as the head coach.”

Taggart said Vasquez has the potential to be a standout in the Sun Belt so long as he continues to become a more consistent option.

“I told Marcus, ‘We can’t afford (you dropping passes),’” Taggart said. “We need you to be the guy. We need you to catch everything that comes your way.’ He has the talent to be a No. 1 — he has the talent to be an All-Conference player. He’s just got to work at it every single day. He needs to have the mindset that that’s what he’s trying to do.”

Vasquez’s own goals for himself have grown along with Taggart’s. If nothing else, last season’s rocky debut was a good trial by fire, Vasquez said.

“I was fresh, kind of like a fresh fish out of the water,” he said. “It was new to me, and to be a freshman and experience that, it gave me a lot more confidence. I can go out there this year and I won’t be so nervous and I’ll know what I’m doing, and I can go with the flow.

“I actually learned how to play receiver this year, and it feels pretty good to be able to go out there and beat up on the (defensive backs) a lot.”

Franks likely done for year

Taggart confirmed Thursday that an MRI revealed both ACL and MCL tears in sophomore linebacker Chuck Franks’ right knee, most likely ending his season.

Franks played in all 12 games as a true freshman last season, recording 18 tackles. The option to redshirt would be available to him if he wants it.

Others out of practice Thursday were running backs Braxston Miller and Dalton Cissell, as well as receiver Dexter Haynes.

Jason Stamm of reported Thursday on ESPN 1450’s Inside Hilltopper Sports Radio that Miller may have torn the PCL in one of his knees, but the Herald will get confirmation on his status at Friday’s practice.

Family Fun Day is Saturday

Western’s second Family Fun Day runs from noon to 3 p.m. Saturday at Smith Stadium.

Players and coaches will be signing autographs at the event, which is free to attend.

Unlike at last year’s Family Fun Day, a mock game will not follow the afternoon event. The Toppers will wrap up fall camp with a morning practice.