Just got back from Western’s fifth spring football practice, where the big news of the day was a sprained ankle suffered by freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes.
Jakes injured the ankle playing pickup basketball, which left Head Coach Willie Taggart displeased to say the least.
“He was playing basketball, which is unacceptable,” Taggart said. “He’s a quarterback on this football team that’s learning a new offense. The time that was spent over there playing basketball he could have spent learning offense. I was very disappointed in him because he’s letting the whole team down.”
Taggart didn’t give any timetable for Jakes’ return, saying that he’s “not even concerned with that.”
“I’m concerned with the guys that are going to be out there to help us win ball games,” Taggart said. “We’ve got two other guys competing at that position – guys that want it.”
With Jakes on crutches on the sidelines, it was junior college transfer Matt Pelesasa who stole the show.
With fellow quarterbacks Tyler Bruce and Courtney Dalcourt out for class and a knee injury, respectively, quarterbacks coach Mike Sanford estimated that Pelesasa took about 70 reps under center Tuesday.
“Not only did he go out and play well and seize the opportunity, but he also got to share with the team and imparted some great wisdom on those guys,” Sanford said. “You can tell that he’s a winner. He’s been a winning quarterback at every level he’s played, and people are going to start gravitating toward him and his attitude.”
With Pelesasa leading the way, the Toppers’ offensive unit got the better of the defense Tuesday – a change of pace from the last several practices, where the defense had shined brightest.
Defensive coordinator Clint Bowen was in the faces of several players and said after practice that the unit’s effort was not up to par with last week.
“It felt like our guys took a step back defensively with their emotion and their execution,” Bowen said. “They’ve got to understand that every day is important, and I don’t know that we brought our best effort today.”
Taggart said that the amount of injuries thus far has been low, but among those that are currently sidelined are senior offensive linemen Mychal Patterson and Derrick Elder along with sophomore defensive lineman Rammell Lewis.
Dalcourt has been sitting out after tweaking his knee and re-aggravating last year’s ACL injury in an individual drill, according to Taggart.
Associate Athletic Director for Communications Todd Stewart said Tuesday that Saturday’s entire scrimmage will be open to the public. Media will also get their first chance to speak to players as one offensive and one defensive player will be available after.
Saturday’s scrimmage is scheduled to begin at 9:10 a.m.