Tag Archives: Quinterrance Cooper

NOTEBOOK: Veteran Cooper sees potential in WKU’s young receivers

Coach Tery Obee addresses his receivers -- a young and "timid" bunch, according to receiver Quinterrance Cooper -- after Western's third fall camp football practice. "I’ve seen a lot and been through a lot of adversity, so if they come to me, I do my best to help them out," Cooper said. PHOTO BY PETE RODMAN/HERALD

By Zach Greenwell

Senior wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper has seen it all at Western, from an encouraging 7-5 campaign in 2007 to the Toppers’ now-infamous 20-game losing streak.

So as the elder statesmen of the receiving corps, Cooper said he’s taken it upon himself to become a mentor.

“I do whatever I can to help the wide receiver group or anyone else on this team,” Cooper said. “I’ve been here four years. I’ve seen a lot and been through a lot of adversity, so if they come to me, I do my best to help them out.”

Video: Quinterrance Cooper’s full comments Thursday to the media

Cooper said some of the younger receivers have flashed a lot of potential, including Willie McNeal, who Cooper said has continued to “turn heads” after his MVP performance in the spring game.

“There’s a couple more freshman, and they’re just learning,” Cooper said. “We really don’t know what they can do yet. They’re out there. They’re a little timid. But once they loosen up, we know they can play because they’re here.”

With three quarterbacks still competing for the starting job, Cooper said it takes work to get timing down with each. But until the depth chart is solidified, you have to work with what you have, he said.

“We don’t really have too many lineups so far,” he said. “Everybody’s getting reps with every different person, and it takes time. We don’t know which guys it’s going to be yet, so the more time we get, we have to take advantage of that opportunity.

“You just have to make plays. If the balls in the air and you’re a receiver, go get it. If you’re a running back and he hands it to you, make a play.”

Rainey expects an expanded role out of backfield in 2010

Junior running back Bobby Rainey has had his touches limited thus far in practice — at least during the time media can attend — but Head Coach Willie Taggart said he’s expecting big things from arguably Western’s top playmaker.

“I told Bobby that, ‘If you want to have a great year, you’ve got to be a great leader,’” Taggart said. “’You have all the athletic ability. You’ve done everything. Everyone looks to you when things go bad, so be that leader.’

“The kids a winner. He wants to win. That’s how he’s been since day one when I met him, which I really like.”

Rainey’s scarcity on the practice field is likely because he will almost certainly be called upon to carry the brunt of the load for Western’s rushing attack this season.

Taggart said he’s told Rainey he doesn’t want him to come up just shy of 1,000 rushing yards again, because “almost doesn’t cut it.” But at the same time, Taggart said he doesn’t envision Rainey getting 30 carries a game  since other backs will share carries.

“Those other guys have to step up,” Taggart said. “They shouldn’t let up because Bobby’s out here. We’re not just saying it’s a lock that Bobby’s the guy. It’s an open competition, and we’re going to play best guy. All that’s going to do is make Bobby better and the guys behind him better.”

Related: Taggart mum on Nebraska after Thursday’s practice

Rainey said Western’s running backs — including reserves Braxston Miller, Keyshawn Simpson and Avery Hibbitt among others — have the physical attributes to be a successful unit if they can couple it with a strong cerebral approach.

“When it’s hot out here, it’s basically just focus,” Rainey said. “We can’t not have that consistent focus one time. If we do that mentally – physically we look good. It’s just that mental focus part.”

While Rainey likely won’t carry the ball 30 times, look for him to have an increased role as a receiver.

The junior has already made some big-time catches out of the backfield in practice this fall from each of the Toppers’ three quarterbacks.

“We have a chance to do a lot of different things with Bobby,” Taggart said. “He’s athletic enough, and we wouldn’t do our team any good if we didn’t find ways to get the ball in his hands.

“I told him, ‘You’re going to have an opportunity to expand your game — not just as a runner and kickoff returner, but as a receiver too. You’re going to be able to show your versatility, so get excited about it and take advantage of it.’”

Injury update

Taggart said that the only real note on the injury front was that freshman defensive back Jerome Speights is still suffering from a sprained knee. Speights was on crutches Thursday, but that seemed to be more of a precaution.

There were a handful of other Toppers held out of practice, but Taggart said that all of them were out because of a minor illness or having had an IV from the day before.

Follow on Twitter (@chheraldsports) for daily football updates.

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Monday Luncheon Wrap-up

-Just got back from the WKU football Monday Media Luncheon–F.Y.I., leftovers from Saturday’s media dinner as the last two lunches are a sign of a down economy–and we got a few interesting thoughts and insights into both the Toppers 30-22 loss to Louisiana-Lafayette and the upcoming game at Middle Tennessee State from head coach David Elson, redshirt sophomore running back Bobby Rainey and redshirt junior Orlando Misaalefua.

Rainey and the offense are looking to capitalize on one of their most balanced games of the season, racking up 308 yards of offense–141 passing, 167 rushing–against ULL. The word from Rainey was that the offense had bright spots, but that the sour notes were more of a point of emphasis and the offense must start to capitalize on every possession.

“We got better in some areas and there are some areas we didn’t get better at,” Rainey said. “We got to convert and capitalize on every possession to keep the defense off the field.”

Misaalefua gave a defensive perspective that it’s the frustration has mounted with the team not being able to get third down stops, especially in crucial, late-game situations. Louisiana-Lafayette was able to get two consecutive third downs late in the game to prevent WKU from getting the ball back with a chance to tie on Saturday. Doing so against Sun Belt Conference opponents adds to the frustration.

“We have to get third down stops,” Misaalefua said. “We have to get off the field and so far we’ve been improving on that. And we have to get, defensive backs have got to get interceptions. Linebackers, we’ve got to get stops. D-Lineman, we’ve got to gush the quarterback, we’ve just got to play football.”

Things may get slightly easier against a Middle Tennessee team that is currently 30% (31-for-102) on the season on third down.

Elson shared the sentiment of Misaalefua, saying that just a handful of plays have been the difference in some of the games this season.

“Just different little things,” Elson said. “The touchdown in the endzone, (senior defensive back) Jihad (Morris) is right there. We’re close, and you know so, we want to be encouraged and motivated by that because it does get frustrating that you’re not doing enough to get into the win column. It’s a combination of ‘hey, we’ve obviously got some areas where we’ve got to improve’ but also a message of ‘hey, we’re close and we’ve played better in areas’ the decision making, the penalties were as good as they’ve been all year.”

WKU committed a season low two penalties for 15 yards.

Many are billing this game as a rivalry game from a fan perspective, and Elson said while agreeing with that, the game itself is in it’s years of rebuilding from a rivalry standpoint. MTSU coach Rick Stockstill stated before last seasons’s game that he doesn’t view it as a rivalry.

“It’s a fans thing,” Elson said. “His point was, and I totally understand where he’s coming from, you prepare for this game like you do any other game. That’s exactly the way we approach it. But from a historical standpoint and fans perspective , yea, it’s a rivalry, because of the geography and the (Ohio Valley Conference days).”

With the team getting so close in so many games–two of the last three games have been one-possession games in the second half–Elson said that as the season wears on, getting close isn’t going to be enough.

Nothing major on the injury front. Wide receiver Dustin Boyer has already been listed as out against for MTSU with a knee injury. Redshirt freshman tight end Jack Doyle, the team’s leader in receptions and yardage, is listed as day-to-day with nerve damage in his shoulder that Elson said just needs “rest and rehab”.

Junior offensive lineman Preston King, who left Saturday’s game and didn’t return, is still battling an ankle injury and is also a wait-and-see case. Redshirt junior wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper will be evaluated this week in regards to his concussion. He missed last game with the injury.

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Monday Luncheon Thoughts

Just got in from the WKU weekly media luncheon. Here are just a few thoughts and notes from the day:

-Linebacker Chris Bullard and wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper were made available, and the sentiment Bullard echoed was that missed assignments (M.A.’s) are going to be a major focus for the week going into Saturday’s game against Louisiana-Lafayette. Staying in their zones and making the fundamental plays necessary to keep the Toppers in the game will be a key concern for the Toppers.

“We looked at the film and it just proved that the job just isn’t getting done,” Bullard said. “We just had a lot of M.A.’s and guys not in the right position, especially on the defensive side of the ball. So when we looked at the film, we just have to get in the right position and get where we are supposed to be, and that’ll eliminate a lot of the big plays that are happening on defense.”

-Coach David Elson’s greatest point of emphasis going into this week of preparation is something he echoed after the Toppers’ 37-20 loss at home to Florida International on Saturday, the team’s 12th consecutive loss dating back to last season. Elson said the team has had great practices, but the effort in practices hasn’t translated into games.

Fundamentals are something Elson said he will look to in order to get the team moving in the right direction.

“That’s what Sunday and Monday are for, quite honestly,” Elson said. “And we’ll get together later on this afternoon and talk about that, just (getting) feedback from players. I’m out there at practice like we all are, and I felt like our tempo has been good. It’s something we have to look at. I don’t know that there’s anything really, really dramatic other than, like you said, revving things up and mabye get a little music going to make them focus. Because even though you’re at home, there’s still a noise factor and the environment does change, obviously.”

-The quarterback spot is still going to belong to Kawaun Jakes, who was sound but showed his inexperience at times late in the FIU game. The freshman was 16-for-26 for 118 yards and one interception as well as 16 rushes for 81 yards and two rushing touchdowns. Brandon Smith, who started the Toppers’ first three games of the season, is still recovering from a sore shoulder.

“I think Kawaun is obviously the guy,” Elson said. “And once again it’s going to get to a feel thing, once Brandon can look me in the eye and say ‘okay, I’m 100%, ready to roll’ and we’ll take it from there.”

-Elson also added that linebacker L.J. Harbison and Cooper are both dealing with concussions following the game, and the team will evaluate them as the week goes on to determine whether or not they are ready to play Saturday.

Elson is confident that the players’ concussions will be slightly more low-key than that of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow’s, whose concussion against Kentucky was a major topic of conversation in both print and broadcast media for the two weeks leading up to the Gators’ 13-3 win at LSU last Saturday.

“I’ll get it going on my Twitter pages,” Elson joked. “…If  you’re not, you need to start following me on Twitter because I’ll have an L.J., Coop update on their concussion, every two hours.”

-David Harten

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First quarter recap: WKU 0, UCA 0

Central Arkansas and Western kicked off at 6:03 p.m. CT after a late-afternoon monsoon ensured attendance would be low at Houchins-Smith Stadium tonight. Skies are clear for now, and while more rain is in the forecast for tonight, storms should hold off until the game concludes.
Western deferred to UCA, and the two traded possessions throughout the quarter with no score. The Bears will begin the second quarter on their own 49-yard line.
Pass interference on junior receiver Quinterrance Cooper called back a 20-plus yard completion to junior receiver Dustin Boyer with five minutes left in the quarter. Buried deep in their own territory, a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Brandon Smith to redshirt freshman receiver Marcus Vasquez saved the drive a play later.
Smith has taken multiple hits so far on both designed runs and broken plays. After leading all Western rushers last week with 102 yards, Smith recorded zero yards on five attempts. Overall, the Western offense tallied 23 total yards to UCA’s 60.
  • Central Arkansas and Western kicked off at 6:03 p.m. CT after a late-afternoon monsoon ensured attendance would be low at Houchens-Smith Stadium. Skies are clear for now, and while more rain is in the forecast for tonight, storms should hold off until the game concludes.
  • Western deferred to UCA, and the two traded possessions throughout the quarter with no score. The Bears will begin the second quarter on their own 49-yard line.
  • Pass interference on junior receiver Quinterrance Cooper called back a 20-plus yard completion to junior receiver Dustin Boyer with five minutes left in the quarter. Buried deep in their own territory, a 17-yard pass from senior quarterback Brandon Smith to redshirt freshman receiver Marcus Vasquez saved the drive a play later, but the Toppers were unable to score.
  • Smith has taken multiple hits so far on both designed runs and broken plays. After leading all Western rushers last week with 102 yards, Smith has recorded zero yards on five attempts so far. Overall, the Western offense has tallied 23 total yards to UCA’s 60.

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Halftime thoughts

This game shouldn’t be this close, but then again, it feels like it should. Sloppy is an understatement for this one. Both teams are making bonehead mistakes via penalities and killing their field position. Defenses are ruling the ball and staking claim to the turf, it’s just not working for the Toppers (unless you count the called-back TD run by Brandon Smith). A few facts to back it up:

  • WKU has 10 penalties for 99 yards, while USF added 5 for 40 yards. A ton of these were either procedure penalties before the snap or personal fouls. It hearkens back to the 2007 season when the word “chippy” was an understatement for WKU.
  • WKU has already surpassed their offensive yards total from UT in the first half alone, gaining 130 total, 103 0f them rushing. Smith’s 42 total rushing yards leads them.
  • The longest pass play for WKU was a nine-yard completion to Quinterrance Cooper. Big plays HAVE to happen if WKU wants to get back in the game.
  • George Selvie has not been a factor for USF. He hasn’t registered a tackle and hasn’t even gotten to Smith. That’s a good start that has to continue.
  • Matt Grothe has stayed true to his niche and run…a lot. His seven rushes for 43 yards leads all players in the category.

Stay tuned for more in between quarters.

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Captains named for Saturday’s game against South Florida

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.

-Jonathan Lintner

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Notebook: Western at Tennessee

Elson endorsing “Kiffin Mania”

Tennessee head coach Lane Kiffin’s off-season antics have created a buzz around Saturday’s game between the Toppers and Volunteers, and Western head coach David Elson is embracing the attention.

“There are people who may not know what Western Kentucky’s program is all about, or what level we play on,” Elson said. “So every time he brought attention to Tennessee, he brought attention to Tennessee’s first game, and it happens to be against Western Kentucky.”

Kiffin reportedly broke NCAA rules on multiple occasions, traded barbs with Florida head coach Urban Meyer through the media and raised the profile of his team’s season opener in the process.

Elson said at Monday’s media luncheon that every time the Tennessee coach’s actions drew national attention, all he could think was, “Thank you, Lane Kiffin.”

Tennessee receiving corps limited but dangerous

Tennessee has lost a number of wide receivers for the season opener (and beyond) this year due to injuries. Senior Austin Rogers, junior Denarius Moore and  junior Gerald Jones (the Vols’ leading receiver in 2008) will all be unavailable for anywhere from four weeks to the entire season, leaving senior Quintin Hancock, junior Brandon Warren and a trio of freshman at wideout.

Of those three newcomers, Western sophomore free safety Mark Santoro said the Topper defense will concentrate the most on freshman Nu’Keese Richardson, who Santoro said Tennessee will take advantage of with a variety of looks.

“They’re going to do a lot of different things with him,” Santoro said. “They’re going to put him at receiver, he’s going to be their punt returner probably, and they might line him up in the Wildcat (formation).”

Offense won’t key on Berry alone

Tennessee strong safety Eric Berry is considered one of the team’s marquee players, but junior receiver Quinterrance Cooper said the offense won’t do much to adjust to the heralded defensive back.

“We don’t have no Eric Berry package or nothing like that,” he said.

Cooper also said that the Toppers’ offense is preparing for their match-up with Tennessee in normal fashion.

“We just treat it like any other game,” Cooper said. “They’ve got Eric Berry, but he’s just one player.”

Toppers to profit off meeting at Tennessee

Regardless of the outcome at Neyland Stadium, Western will receive $700,000 for playing, according to a USA Today article by Jack Carey.

Some smaller programs agree to away contests dubbed “money games” against traditional powers, gaining increased exposure and leaving with a sizeable check. As part of its transition into the Football Bowl Subdivision, Western has traveled to play seven Southeastern Conference opponents in the past seven years, including Tennessee, and been outscored 264-42 in the first six.

-Jonathan Lintner

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