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November 18, 2009

Focus Still There During Bye Week

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There was no implosion.

The Toppers could have easily packed it in. After coach David Elson was fired in the midst of a winless season last week, WKU then played the second-best team in the Sun Belt Conference, Louisiana-Monroe to a down to the wire game on the road.

The Toppers again came up short, 21-18 and the defense was walked on again, but not stomped on like it has been so many times this season. WKU allowed 441 yards of total offense, but also forced three turnovers.

"There was a lot of positive stuff that we did out there," junior linebacker Mike Gothard said. "After watching the film, it's just little things that they took advantage of in a close game like that. You can't have that kinda stuff happen. This week, we're kinda working off the same things that we were working on the week before. That was going back to technique and stuff we were doing in camp. It worked for us last week we think and we're just gonna keep working on it and see if we get anything better."

Offensively, the Toppers put up 383 yards of total offense, but too many times came up short. WKU was forced to settle for five field goal attempts and ran out of time while driving at the end of the game.

"We did everything right from beginning to probably, I think we did like 90 percent what we wanted to do," senior running back Tyrell Hayden said. "We executed 90 percent, but it's that ten percent that we're missing, that we're looking for during the bye week and going to FAU to complete the hundred percent to win a ball game."

The bye this weekend, has allowed the Toppers to take things in more so than even last week. Upon Elson's firing, the final heads up, the mindset has been more of enjoying playing football, enjoy playing on the field and enjoy being a Topper.

"You've gotta have fun," Gothard said. "It's still a game and when I cone out here, that's what I'm worried about is having fun still. We want two more wins out of this and if we can have some fun while we're doing this, that's the best way to do it."

At the same time, the team is trying to keep focus as well of accomplishing what they've yet to do all season.

"We're always trying to have fun," redshirt freshman quarterback Kawaun Jakes said. "It's still a game, but at the same time, we're really trying to win. That's the real attitude."

And with the impending gloom of the staff at the end of the season, the players and coaches are both simply enjoying the time they have left this season. Attitudes are still positive by both groups, with guys still cutting up, joking and smiling through practices.

There's just still that frustrating part reminder that WKU is getting close, but hasn't gotten close enough to that win. The Toppers' three-point loss to the Warhawks was their slimmest margin of defeat all season.

"We're just a couple of inches, a couple of yards away from grabbing about four or five wins," Hayden said. "We're just building confidence right now and nobody's really down and worried even though we've got the coaching situation and we've got the record, things in the media going on. We're all out here together in between these lines. The only thing we're worried about is each other."

For all the non-seniors, with all the uncertainty of the next head coach and staff, there's also the motivation of playing for position for next season.

"We have to impress the new coaches," Jakes said. "I guess we've still got something to look forward to. But for ourselves, we're just trying to win."





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