WKU football blog: Mid-week Murray State notes

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Long awaited debut:

Saturday will mark the first chance for Western Kentucky fans to see senior offensive tackle Greg Ryan at home in well over a year.

After voluntarily redshirting last season, Ryan will play his first home game at Houchens-Smith Stadium since 2006 this weekend.

“It’s going to be fun,” Ryan said. “I’m going to have to let my dad do a little bit more cooking than he normally does out there tailgating, last year I was always out there helping him.

“But this year I’ll have to hand the reins over to him.”

But not only will Ryan be starting his first home game in seemingly forever, he’ll also be doing it against his hometown team.

Ryan is a Murray native and has been around the Murray State athletic program for as long as he can remember.

“That’s just an added bonus that it’s Murray State and I get to play a team that I grew up around,” Ryan said. “My brother played for them, my grandfather coached baseball there for 36 years, I was a bat boy for as long as I could remember and a ball boy for the basketball team, and I just had a chance to grow up around them because my family had a lot to do with Murray State.

“It’s exciting because I’ve seen the rivalry between Murray State and Western growing up, and just being able to play them in the first home opener is really exciting.”

In search of a coach:

With Murray State coach Matt Griffin suspended for Saturday’s by the Ohio Valley Conference for comments about officiating last week, the school has yet to decide on who exactly will run the sidelines this weekend.

According to the Murray Ledger, Griffin made critical comments after last Saturday’s loss directed at the officials, saying “the holding was so blatant,” and “a couple of these guys … they are two-year-olds and that’s all there is to it. They shouldn’t be at this level. And that’s that.”

This isn’t the first wrist slap during Griffin’s coaching career however, as he faced a similar problem after making comments as the head coach at Tennessee-Martin in 2003.

Injury updates:

Sophomore quarterback K.J. Black took what appeared to be full reps at practice Wednesday, mostly with the second-team offense.

The Hilltoppers were in just helmets and shorts on Wednesday, but Tuesday saw them in full padding. Black was fully dressed, but didn’t take part in full-contact drills toward the end of that session.

WKU coach David Elson said earlier in the week that if Black is able to play on Saturday without pain or limitations, then he will get the starting nod. If not, it will be senior David Wolke for the second straight game.

In other injury news, junior receiver Jake Gaebler was at practice on Wednesday, but didn’t seem to be all that active — as he is still nursing some back issues. Injured sophomore safety Orlando Misaalefua (knee) also worked out with the team on Wednesday, and looked more active than he has in weeks.

Season ticket numbers:

WKU athletic director Wood Selig said that the number of season tickets sold so far this year is nearly equal to the amount sold last season’s number of around 9,200.

“This year we’re approaching that number right now,” Selig said. “But arguably the best week of ticket sales is the week before your home opener, so we anticipate we’ll have a brisk sales period this week and we hope to surpass the 9,200 we had last year.

“I think our student attendance will be dramatically increased, because I think they’ll feel a little bit more pride of having goal line-to-goal line and 100 yards of seating right in front of the visiting team with our band right on the 50.”

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