- South Florida broke the third-quarter scoring silence with a four-play, 77-yard drive with 4:50 left in the quarter. USF wide receiver Carlton Mitchell broke his second big play of the game, a 65-yard pass that was followed up by a seven-yard rush by A.J. Daniels to the end zone.
- Western responded with a complete drive of their own, capped off by a 15-yard touchdown run by senior Marell Booker to make the score 21-13 with 27 seconds left in the quarter.
- Penalties have continued to be a trouble spot for the Toppers. Western compiled three more fouls in the third quarter, giving them 12 for 119 yards in the game.
- The Western offense is being carried on the ground. At 6.0 yards per carry, the Topper offense has 163 total rushing yards—82 of them belonging to senior quarterback Brandon Smith.
Tag Archives: Marell Booker
An offense-heavy team of captains was chosen for Western’s home opener against South Florida.
Senior running back Marell Booker, senior wide reciver Jake Gaebler, junior wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper and senior linebacker Darvis McBride will lead the Toppers into this Saturday’s blackout of L.T. Smith Stadium.
Kickoff is slated for Saturday at 6:30 p.m. CT.
Just got back from the WKU football weekly media luncheon. Along with head coach David Elson, senior wide receiver Jake Gaebler and junior linebacker Thomas Majors gave a few words on the Toppers’ season-opening game at Tennessee on Saturday. A few key points from today’s festivities:
- Gaebler said the older players are preaching to the younger, less experienced players that the key to playing in the 101,011-seat Neyland Stadium (and believe me, there WILL be more people in there than that come game day) is to maintain focus and keep the motivation up.
- Part of that motivation has been the rankings that have been more than prevalent in the media. Most publications that rank all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision teams have WKU at the bottom of their respective lists. “We’re using the fact that most people are overlooking us as motivation,” Gaebler said.
- Majors made a point that the defense feels that Tennessee doesn’t do anything different than any other FBS team, but what they do, they do well. He gave the Power-I, pro-style offense that Volunteer head coach Lane Kiffin will be keen on, as an example. It’s a major prepping point for the Topper defense.
- Elson’s biggest selling point is to the players is that they must stay within their means going into the first game. “You must stay within your system and should just try to cover what other teams might do,” Elson said.
- Elson said he is more comfortable going into this season than in any other season before due to the fact that his roster is stacked with more talent. He attributed that to the rise to the FBS and to the name of WKU football getting out there more.
- He also said that along with preparing for the noise of Neyland Stadium with loud music and silent cadences, Elson added that the players must train their minds for the rigors of playing in that environment.
- Despite being out for the Saturday night scrimmage, running backs Marell Booker and Bobby Rainey will be ready to play at Tennessee on Saturday.
Coach David Elson said both senior running back Marell Booker and sophomore back Bobby Rainey are out with injuries and will not participate in Saturday night’s mock game at L.T. Smith Stadium.
After Thursday’s practice, Elson said Booker “had a little knee situation that’s popped up,” then clarified on Friday that the injury was a sprain. Rainey is out with a strained shoulder.
Neither is listed as out for next Saturday’s season opener at Tennessee, but should the Toppers lose two of their top backs, senior Tyrell Hayden will take the no. 1 spot on the depth chart and linebacker-turned-running back Braxston Miller will look for a more integrated role in the offense.
— Jonathan Lintner
Football beat writer Jonathan Lintner breaks down each of Western’s 12 opponents over the next 12 days.
Play Western: Sept. 5, at Tennessee
‘08 Record: 5-7
Coach: Lane Kiffin
Returning starters: Seven offense, five defense
The Buzz: New Tennessee coach Lane Kiffin has come under a firestorm of controversy this past off-season. The former Oakland Raiders coach called out SEC foes Florida and Georgia on the recruiting front, accusing Gators coach Urban Meyer of recruiting violations in the process.
Kiffin himself violated NCAA rules by mentioning the Meyer situation, in which he said a player was receiving calls from the opposing coach while on an official visit to Tennessee. Kiffin violated another NCAA rule by referring Vol recruit Bryce Brown as a “great player” on local radio. The university plans to self-report that recruiting violation.
Fresh off a season full of disappointment, Kiffin looks to get the Volunteers in the news for something positive — winning — rather than the criticism that’s been shot his direction since arriving on campus.
Outlook: For everything Tennessee has lost in its wide receiving corps with Gerald Jones, Denarius Moore and Austin Rogers injured over the summer, they hope to make up for with a veteran offensive line and a quarterback that’s been there, done that once before.
Jonathan Crompton, Tennessee’s senior under center, saw action in all but four games in 2008. While Volunteer fans don’t question his talent, Crompton has been known to make poor decisions — just as he did in an 8-for-23 passing effort in last season’s 14-12 loss to Auburn.
Former coach Phillip Fulmer benched Crompton for the next four games in favor of backup Nick Stephens. Now under the reign of Kiffin, the quarterback battle has extended to 2009. Both signal callers are receiving snaps in spring training with Crompton expected to get the nod in against Western in Knoxville on Sept. 5.
Even better news for Crompton is that Jones is currently participating in practices, wearing a cast on his injured arm. That’s bad news for Western, who lost starting free safety Travis Watters after last season along with four other starters and now expects to give playing time to a number of second-year players in the secondary. Watters led the Toppers with 73 tackles in 2008.
How Western can win: If Western expects to make a competitive second half in Knoxville a reality, they’ll rely heavily on their offensive backfield to make it happen. Seniors Tyrell Hayden and Marell Booker head up the Topper rushing attack, with Bobby Rainey not far behind. Maximizing on the Vols’ loss of All-SEC defensive end Robert Ayers as well as maintaining possession and composure in a hostile environment will be of great importance.
The Toppers look to get out of Big Orange Country with a moral victory — a competent ground game to keep the abilities of preseason All-American safety Eric Berry at bay and a closer-than-expected final score.