Comments from Western Kentucky coach Bobby Petrino after Thursday’s practice.
Petrino said sophomore running back Leon Allen will be a game-time decision with bruised ribs. Also hearing that senior center Sean Conway has an injured right elbow and may not play. His replacement would be redshirt freshman Max Halpin, a Convington Catholic product.
Also included in this post are comments from Brandon Joggerst, high school coach of true freshman quarterback Todd Porter.
Will there be a change at quarterback this week? “I don’t know yet. What we’ve done is open it up, just like all the other positions that we go through the week, evaluate effort and how we do.
“We had a decent practice tonight and we’ll evaluate it just like we do every other position and then make a decision either tonight, or probably (Friday).”
How have the other quarterbacks been in practice? “Well they’re nervous. They’ve been nervous a little bit. But they’ve shown some good execution. We’ve kinda gave every one of them reps and we’re trying to learn more about our team and see if there’s different things we can do, little different packages for each guy and some of ‘em have executed real well.
“They’ve been inconsistent, but there has been some really good things, too. I think it has helped our enthusiasm at practice and our receiving corps is getting better and they’re gonna continue to improve and that will help all of us.”
Why switch QBs now? “We evaluated the (South Alabama) game and we looked it and we’re turning the ball over too much. Like I said before, any time you turn it over, it’s the entire offenses responsibility.
“But a week ago we made every position available for competition except for the quarterback position. We decided to include them all.”
Todd Porter: “He’s very talented, can really throw it, make all the different throws that you need to make and he’s very athletic. He’s still learning, still learning the pace of the game, the tempo of the game and the different looks that defenses can give you. He’s improved a lot. He’s gotten a lot of reps in the last month and he’s improved a lot.
“(Nelson) Fishback’s the other guys that’s been rotating in there and taking snaps. He does a lot of good things and he’s very athletic and is a good runner.
“We’ve really taken a great look at all four of them this week.”
How has Doughty handled the week? “Well it’s hard on him, obviously. It’s disappointing. But we had real good meetings today and he’s got a real positive attitude and he’s a great teammate. His teammates voted him captain and he’s been very positive.
“He’ll get his opportunity back, there’s no question in my mind.”
Help playing Morgan State this week? “We’re just focusing on ourself. We’re focusing on taking care of our business and working hard in practice and getting better. That’s the key for us is to go out there and play the type of football that we did the first game of the season.
“Execute, do things right, play with great effort and play together as a team. Those are the things we’ve been emphasizing all week.”
Team’s health: “We’ve been healthy. Leon (Allen) didn’t finish the (South Alabama) game the other night and he didn’t get to go full practice (Wednesday). He was out there today running around, but he’s still pretty sore. We gotta wait and see, it’ll probably be a gametime decision on him.
“All the X-rays were negative down in Mobile, he did not have a broken rib, he just has bruised ribs. As a running back that’s very painful. But he did have a good day today and I was really happy with the way he moved around out there.”
O-line: “They’ve been very focused. They’ve been very focused. I think we got some great leadership there, some guys with a lot of pride and they’ve been focused and working really hard. I think we’ve taken a step forward with the O-line.”
Message to team before a home game: “Our seniors only have a few home games left and what’s important to us is to come out and be very focused, play with a lot of aggressiveness, play physical and fast and do our assignments. If we can count of each guy on the field to do their assignment – and play as a team. I think that’s the key is we keep getting better as a team.”
How has the offense responded to QB change? “I think everybody understands what to expect when we come out to practice and that’s what’s important to us is the effort that you give and the focus and concentration that you have in practice.
“Like I’ve said before, we treat that just like every position on the team.”
What can fans expect from Todd Porter? “I think they’re going to see a very athletic quarterback, a very strong arm, very confident. He has tremendous ability and tremendous upside.
“I think you’re gonna see someone that’s gonna take charge of the huddle and, even though he’s only a freshman, someone that’s gonna go in there and command some presence. There’s a lot of positives that he can bring.”
Was he overlooked coming out of high school? “Absolutely. He was one of those in my mind – the quarterback position is always very tricky. Everybody that was on him early – with these schools only taking one (QB), the commits were filling up almost close to a year in advance from that previous spring.
“Todd went available. People weren’t willing to take multiple kids and he was somebody that the knock on him, maybe, was, ‘Is he athletic enough?’ after his junior tape.
“But his senior tape was extremely impressive, so in my mind, yes, he was very under-recruited.”
Intangibles: “I think Todd is someone that has a short-term memory at quarterback. We were a no-huddle type offense and he really called plays from what he saw. In that regard, somebody who studies a lot of film, puts in a lot of time and feels like he can make every throw on the field.”