BLACKSBURG, Va.— It's back.
Coach David Elson has been adamant that the two-quarterback system was out, after WKU employed two last season.
The platoon system has returned, with a different feel.
In the Toppers' 27-13 loss at Virginia Tech, the system had mixed success in the first half, but came to life in the second. Senior David Wolke and sophomore Dexter Taylor split the duties.
"Running this offense, that quarterback's gotta be a run threat," Elson said. "David is, but Dexter's a little more of one. The great thing about that whole situation was, there wasn't anybody cheering harder on the sideline than David Wolke, when Dexter was going. He came up to me one time and said, 'Man, I wish I was that fast.' That's what team attitude is all about and was really proud of Dexter in a short week. That's what he does is run the option."
Taylor, who was the quarterback in Warren Central's (Ind.) option running attack, ran for 96 yards on 14 carries. Offensive coordinator Kevin Wright was Taylor's coach at Warren Central.
"I think it helps having dual quarterbacks in there," Taylor said. "Anytime I can get in there to help the team out, I'll do whatever. David is the guy and he does a good job leading the team."
Where, Taylor came up big on the ground, Wolke did likewise through the air. Taylor had no pass attempts, while Wolke threw for 49 yards on 7-19 passing.
While the numbers weren't big, they were an improvement from the Toppers' 15-yard out put against Kentucky. WKU (2-4) had more throws down field.
"This is the second week in a row that we've faced a good secondary," Wolke said. "You can't forget, they're ranked No. 20 or whatever in the country. They've got some all-American corners and things like that. We did what we could and we've gotta continue to work on getting the ball down field more."
Both quarterbacks also kept the number of sacks down, taking three sacks, but also getting rid of the ball more effectively.
WKU's defense was able to create pressure of their own, collecting five sacks. Virginia Tech (5-1) also had three fumbles, losing one.
The Toppers also got a lift on special teams, which had been a letdown the week before. At Kentucky, WKU had a big game from redshirt freshman Bobby Rainey, but gave up a touchdown return on a kickoff.
Today, the Toppers were able to execute a fake punt, as junior punter Jeremy Moore found junior linebacker Blake Boyd down the left sideline. Boyd initially shook a couple of tackles and ran into the end zone. The play was called back on a block in the back penalty.
The play still resulted in a 46-yard gain.
It was also planned by Elson, who told his team they would call the fake on WKU's first punt.
"It's something, like Coach Elson said, we practice it every day almost," Boyd said. "Probably since the beginning of the year, we have. It's something that on the sidelines, every time we punt, 'Coach, coach, are we running this? Let's run it.
"It worked out perfect. We executed it. Jeremy Moore threw a perfect pass and had some really good blocks. I told everybody, every day when I run that play, I'm either gonna score or I'm gonna run somebody over."
Though the Toppers were able to make a comeback in the second half, they were hindered throughout the game by penalties. WKU was flagged 13 times for 113 yards.
Senior cornerback Marcus Minor was the first Topper flagged, when he was penalized in the game's second drive for a head to head hit.
"It's tough," Elson said. "Honestly, the first penalty, it's maybe the toughest thing going on, I think right now, in football, in college football and NFL football. We are concerned about safety. There's no question and I am too, but when we review that film and see the hit that Marcus made, I don't know and we had discussions about this in the off-season as a group of coaches in the Sun Belt and it's just tough. I'm not saying it's a bad call, it's just a tough situation because they're trying to balance safety but we can't coach our guys any different. Nobody's coaching to lead with your head."
After playing five of its first six games on the road, WKU returns home next week to play Ball State. The Toppers will play the next three games at home and will enjoy a bye week as well.