WKU football blog: mid-week roundup

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Quarterback analysis:

Changing a starting quarterback mid-season due to performance is never an optimal situation for any football team.

But after analyzing both sophomore K.J. Black and senior David Wolke’s performances throughout the first five games, the Western Kentucky coaching staff seems to think that the change is needed to move forward in 2008.

Arguments for both Black and Wolke could be made as to who exactly deserves the starting job, but the only certainty here is that the offense needs some sort of jump start, and the staff clearly feels this may be the best way to do it.

WKU coach David Elson said on Monday that there would be no change at quarterback for Saturday’s game at Virginia Tech. But in the time between the press conference and practice on Tuesday, an overall change in heart was clearly had.

Elson said he wouldn’t get into specifics Tuesday as to what exactly the reasons for the change were, but after looking at his past comments, the lack of run production from the quarterback spot might be the answer.

Elson has been slightly critical of Black this season when it comes to being a north and south runner, saying that there have been times where he’s shuffled his feet a bit rather than getting up field.

“(The quarterbacks) need to run the ball, run the ball when they’re supposed to, read properly on the zone-read play and when they keep it get north and south and get positive yards,” Elson said on Monday. “At times (K.J. danced in the hole some), and we told him he needs to get north and south — had a few good runs and then there were some where he could have been more deliberate when he made his cuts and got down field.”

While there’s no question that both Black and Wolke are agile enough to be effective in the spread-option, Elson and the staff seem to feel that Wolke can be more effective when it comes to getting up field. Black may have more of a big-play type capability with his ability to improvise, but Wolke’s more of a downhill runner and that could be something the staff feels will help open holes for the struggling running backs.

As far as Black’s absence from practice on Tuesday, it appears to be anyone’s guess right now as far as what exactly the problem is. Black’s father Kenneth Sr. was quoted in Wednesday’s Daily News saying he wasn’t exactly sure either why his son missed practice, but there is no indication that he’s considering leaving the program.

Either way, it’s not exactly a good situation for the Hilltoppers to be in.

Make no mistake, WKU needs a healthy-bodied, and healthy-minded, K.J. Black to be successful in the future. Because next season, he’ll have more experience at the position than any of the other five quarterbacks put together.

But as of right now, the keys to the 2008 offense appear to have been handed over to Wolke on a permanent basis. And whether or not anyone agrees or disagrees with the decision, handing over the reins of a struggling offense to a fifth-year senior might not be the worst thing in the world.

Injuries galore:

A slew of notables sat out practice for one injury reason or another on Tuesday.

The list of players not participating were receiver Quinterrance Cooper (foot), linebacker Alonzo Higgins (foot), cornerback Rashad Etheridge (shoulder), receiver Wenquel Graves (unknown), nose tackle Terald Clark (lower body) and offensive lineman Shelley Anthony (unknown).

Keep in mind that it’s not uncommon for WKU to hold out a good number of ailing players early in the week, and the official status for these individuals for Saturday isn’t known at this point.

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