By Zach Greenwell
It was a fairly light news day at Western’s football practice Thursday morning.
Junior quarterback Matt Pelesasa was once again held out with what’s being called a tired throwing arm. Sophomore Kawaun Jakes and freshman Brandon Doughty again took all of the snaps under center with Pelesasa sidelined, but Head Coach Willie Taggart said Pelesasa would be back for this afternoon’s second practice.
Junior running back Bobby Rainey was also out of pads – and the infamous yellow jersey – and was seen icing his left shoulder.
Taggart said that Rainey landed awkwardly on the shoulder during a drill, but that holding him out was just precautionary.
“He sprained his shoulder in the summer, and he went to catch a ball and just landed on it,” Taggart said. “He’ll be fine though.”
We’ve seen similar situations from Taggart a lot this fall with tackle Wes Jeffries, kicker Casey Tinius and of course, Pelesasa. It’s pretty clear that when a proven playmaker goes down with a minor injury, this staff would prefer to give him a few days rest over risking something more serious.
Doughty looks strong
We didn’t get to see much 11-on-11 today, but in the few drives we did see, I was really impressed by Doughty.
The true freshman’s mid-range to deep ball looked the best it has, hooking up with tight end Tristan Jones and receivers Quinterrance Cooper and Blake Ayers for receptions of 15 yards or more.
Although I don’t think these last couple days are enough to pull Doughty back into the race with Pelesasa and Jakes, it does make it seem like the future could be bright for him.
Of course, with the offense having such big success, that means that the defense didn’t have its best day.
Taggart said it’s been two straight days where the offense has decisively gotten the better of the D, and he said the latter needs to learn when to say “enough is enough.”
“We were a lot better offensively today than we were defensively,” Taggart said. “But the thing I did like about the defense was that we were running to the ball. It just wasn’t as much energy as there has been.
“The guys feed off each other. When they’re fired up, it’s hard to move the ball on them. When they’re just out there and quiet, it comes really easy for the offense.”
Taggart goes ‘big-time’
On a lighter note, Taggart elaborated on his dinner last night at the governor’s mansion with Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear and his wife.
Taggart was joined by Western Director of Athletics Ross Bjork and President Gary Ransdell.
“I had all the questions I could,” Taggart said. “It’s not like I get to talk to the governor every day. I said I wanted to make sure I got it all out while I was there.
“I felt big-time. I felt like I arrived a little bit there. I walked out with my chest up and a little pep in my step after that.”
Taggart was asked what he had to eat at the dinner and excitedly answered steak and potatoes.
“We were keeping it country,” Taggart said. “Keeping it country in the governor’s mansion.”