Bowling Green, KY (Bowling Green Daily News) - Some comments from Tuesday's practice.
WKU quarterbacks coach/passing game coordinator Mike Sanford:
On what the problem's been through the air lately:
"I think I'm learning as a young coach that even after a good performance, it's never as good as you think it is and it's never as bad as you think it is. After a game like this past Saturday it's tough to live by that, but coming off the Lafayette game where everything was clicking and it all looked good – it starts with me and everyone on our coaching staff and the quarterback position – we all just have to make plays. The difference between the Lafayette game and these past two weeks is that guys were in position to make plays and they made them. We need to do a good job of getting guys in position to make plays, and when they get that opportunity, they need to make them."
"We're playing with a quarterback that's new in the system and he didn't get a chance to work spring ball as much as we would've liked for him to. Even then, it's a big system. He's making strides. The last two weeks haven't shown it, but we're getting to where we need to go – we just need to put it together."
On the criticism quarterback Kawaun Jakes continues to receive:
"It's all of us. It really is. It's me, it's our receivers, it's our tight ends, it's our lines and when things go well everyone's at the airport patting us on the back and giving us player of the week honors. When things go bad, everyone calls for the quarterback – that's the nature. I loved playing the position and I love coaching it, but you understand that a lot of times you're the focal point of criticism and that's part of it.
"The good news is that myself and Kawaun, we're not Internet guys. We don't read what people are saying and to be quite honest, that stuff doesn't make us better or worse – it has no impact. We just have to keep getting better and move on."
On how WKU moves forward without wide receiver Marcus Vasquez:
"All we can focus on is what we have right now. As people who put the gameplan together, all we can do is put pieces together. We can't worry about what's in the past, what we don't have, what we want to add a year or two years from now in recruiting – we have to play with what we've got right now. We've got guys that are healthy who have made plays, we just need those guys to emerge."
WKU coach Willie Taggart
On how important the last three weeks of the season are:
"You're always concerned about that especially the way this season's gone. But I love these guys and all the stuff they've been through, they're still out here working hard and doing their best to get those wins. These last few weeks I've thought about these upperclassmen, I've told them that they still have a lot left – they've got three ballgames that they can win and help jump-start our program and get it back to where it belongs. I think they have more than they can imagine (left to do).
"These next three weeks are going to be a three-week evaluation for our entire football team about where we're going."
"You have to enjoy the moment, because (once the season's over) you're not going to play another game until August or September – and that's a long time. You'll get to practice, but you won't get to play. You've got to be out here at practice anyway, you might as well enjoy it. There's a lot of people that would love to be in their position.
"For these young guys I know it's hard because we haven't won a lot, but we're right there. That's one thing that's helping our football team. We're not going and getting blown out by 20 or 30 points, we just have to win. We have to find whatever it is to get us over the top. We're doing everything else but winning right now."
"These next three games can jump-start a lot of things. But more importantly it can show our guys that we can do it now. I hear a lot of people tell me ‘you're going to be all right once you get your guys in here.' I've got my guys here. The guys that are here now. We can do this now. We just have to get over that jump."
On what he expects from his younger wide receivers moving forward:
"You hope they all step up. We're going to find the guys that practice well and do what we ask them to do from a route concept. And those are the guys that are going to play. Those are the guys that are going to give us a chance to win ballgames. It's hard right now because we're not where we want to be from a depth standpoint, but it's big for these young guys now to step up and help this football team. They're all on scholarship. There's no excuses for not being ready and going out and doing what you're capable of doing.
"You only get one chance to make a first impression and a lot of these guys have that chance now. They should be hungry and I think they are. I got a lot of text messages from young guys after Saturday's game saying ‘coach, I'm ready.' I was like ‘geeze, where were you earlier this season?' But no, that's part of them being young and not really understanding (yet). But they're coming."