WKU football blog: Mock game

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Timing game

One of the most noticeable differences in the Western Kentucky offense Wednesday was its timing.

With sophomore K.J. Black now getting all the reps with the starting unit, pass routes looked sharper and fewer receiver adjustments were made.

The receivers have been eager to experience such consistency.

“Today we came out and we were smooth, we had that tipped ball interception early, but then got it flowing and got it going,” sophomore wide receiver Quinterrance Cooper said. “It makes it easier (having one quarterback) just because we can get that timing down. With K.J., he’s throwing very well right now and because it’s just one quarterback, we can get our timing down.

“We don’t have to adjust routes, or adjust the way we play because guys aren’t coming in and out.”

Kicking battle

It appeared Wednesday that senior kicker Zac Minturn has – for now anyway – won the starting kicker job.

Elson said the combination of Minturn’s consistency and a slight injury to fellow senior Tanner Siewert gives Minturn the current edge.

Minturn made all his extra points and connected on a 30-yard field goal Wednesday, but also missed an attempt from a similar distance.

Defensive positioning

With opening-day starters at safety still a bit unsettled, Wednesday was a chance for several candidates to separate themselves.

And while none was particularly good in pass coverage, freshman Mark Santoro led the team with seven tackles, while fellow safeties Ryan Beard, Travis Watters and Orlando Misaalefua all appear to be around the ball during rush defense.

Junior college transfer Taurean Smith continued to turn heads and could earn a starting role. Smith picked off Black during the first drive of the game while recording two stops of his own.

And while the defensive special teams were burned by Cooper’s 90-yard kickoff return touchdown, freshman linebacker Tyran Golden atoned for the mistake in punt coverage, blocking a Jeremy Moore kick late in the first half.

Young guns

All three of WKU’s true freshman quarterbacks got snaps in the second half of the scrimmage, and all three had positive moments.

Freshmen Kawaun Jakes and Anthony Sheppard both led their offensive units to scoring drives – and both finished them with rushing touchdowns.

Dexter Haynes, who recently moved from quarterback to wide receiver, showed a glimpse of what he might bring to the table in the future, sprinting past the defense and stretching his 6-foot-4 frame for a long pass. Haynes showed he has work to do however, as he bobbled the ball and it popped loose before he hit the ground.

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