Bowling Green, KY (Bowling Green Daily News) - Western Kentucky coach Willie Taggart said following the Hilltoppers' 17-16 loss against Florida Atlantic that he wanted to check the film to find out why Kawaun Jakes finished 8 of 24 through the air for just 70 yards.
On Monday, Taggart said that the problem was two-sided.
"I feel the same way I did Saturday," he said. "We did everything except win and complete passes. Guys have been working hard and losing games like that hurts, because we're close and we just can't close the deal.
"But we'll bounce back."
Taggart was critical of Jakes and critical of his receivers for the lack of production Saturday, saying throws weren't being made and catches weren't being hauled in.
"Our quarterback wasn't on his game like he needed to be, it starts there," he said. "He was playing too hesitant with not a lot of confidence – it was more guessing instead of going out knowing what we're going to do. He didn't make some throws, there were about six I counted. Then we had three dropped balls, two batted down and one where the receiver didn't run the right route. We have to get more cohesive there.
"For us as coaches, we have to put him in a better position to be successful. We're asking (Jakes) to do a little too much right now and we've got to simplify things a bit. … Kawaun is just like everybody else on our football team right now when the game's close and we've got to win it. Everyone panics. We've got to get better at that as a team, not just Kawaun, but everyone. We'd like for him to be Peyton Manning, but that's not going to happen right now. He needs to get more comfortable, the receivers need to as well. That's what we're missing right now. Having a guy step up when we're down. We've got to have that."
To make matters worse for the WKU passing attack, leading wide receiver Marcus Vasquez was lost for the season on Saturday with a broken collarbone. The Hilltoppers have already been without sophomore tight end Jack Doyle over the past two weeks, leaving WKU in a tricky spot when it comes to its pass catchers.
Even with all that said, though, Taggart said that there is no situation at current moment that will see him remove Jakes from the team's starting signal caller spot.
"I'm not getting into that," he said. "That's how it's been around here for the longest time. That's not a position where you just go back and forth, you just can't. Especially when you're trying to establish an offense and get some continuity and get it going. You can't just go back and forth at that position.