As expected, and you could hear the chuckle in coach Blake Anderson’s voice, quarterback play was quickly referenced at the weekly media conference on Monday.
“He is ahead of schedule and doing great,’’ said Anderson. “We do expect him to play and we expect him to play well. We are going to be smart with this reps this week. He will be limited. The doctors have looked at him 2 or 3 different times. Actually, they re-evaluated him yesterday and he is doing better than expected. So we expect him to be ready to roll.”
Knighten strained a groin muscle in the third quarter vs. Missouri and Tabary finished that game. He took no snaps in the 70-7 victory over Missouri State on Saturday.
He will be limited Tuesday and Wednesday but both will get reps. All indication are he will be fine by Saturday night.
“I would have struggled with that decision a year ago but where he is now. He knows the system; that is not an issues and we do not carry anything in so complicated on a weekly basis he would not be able to handle it. I feel a lot better about it now that than I would have a year ago with him.”
Offensive coordinator Walt Bell said he is not a two-QB system guy.
“We have no conversation at this point about playing two,’’ said Anderson. “He (Tabary) did a great job coming in and did a great job against an opponent that we were better than. If we have to use him at some point in the future we will. There is no conversation about playing both. Fredi is our guy.
He was going in and if he is healthy and ready to roll he is our guy. We fully expect him to be that guy.”
PLAYING THEM AND COMPARING SCORES
Anderson was asked if it provides more motivation to beat Toledo since the Rockets have already defeated another in-state team.
"Doesn't even cross my mind,” he said. “I just want to beat Toledo because we need to beat Toledo. They beat us last year in a bowl game; that was enough for me."
As far as playing the University of Arkansas?
“Do I think Arkansas and us should play? Yeah I think it would be great for the state,” he said. “You know I doubt I have anything to do with it. But we’d love to play them and play them wherever that wanted to play. I think it would be great for the state of Arkansas. I doubt it would ever happen, but I’m all for it. If y’all want to get it started let me know, I will sign on.”
THE JONESBORO SIX
Walt Bell had a name for the 6 offensive linemen who played vs. Missouri State. Devin Mondie was held out, and could have played if needed, and Jemar Clark was also held out. Redshirt freshman Daniel Keith played four spots, all but right tackle, in the game.
“That was good because he was able to give all of the other guys a break,’’ he said.
The starters were: Joseph Bacchus@ at LT; Keith at LG; Brandon Berg at C; Austin Moreton at RG and Colton Jackson at RT. Steven Stevens saw playing time and was part of the J6 group. Also getting in late were reserves Jhamahl Bell and Brendan Weis.
“It will be better this week we will have Devin Mondie back and Jamar Clark and Mad Max, Robert Maxwell,’’ said Bell. “We should be back to a full 10 this week.”
It was the most extensive work this season for Bacchus, who Bell said was playing about 30 snaps a game, and it was a lot more for Brandon.
“A year ago we had one center. Now I feel we have three guys there (Mondie, Berg and Keith) who I trust.”
“He (Hill) has a limited roll,” said Anderson. “Everyone else seems to be moving in the right direction. Nothing significant, just normal bumps and bruises. We anticipate all on deck.
Expounding on not having a two-quarterback system “because I am not built that way,” Bell explained his philosophy and about another important position.
So we don’t expect to see a Knighten-Tabary combo for the Red Wolves this season. And the same can be said for another position.
“There are two positions that have different job requirements than the other 20 – center and quarterback,’’ said Bell. “Number one they are held to a higher standard. We expect more mentally, physically and in leadership.
“There is no either or with those positions. I know some have made the two quarterback system work but that is not the way I am built. We have a guy and he is the guy until it’s time not to be the guy.”
THE PIT BULL
Sophomore LB Khari Lain leads the Red Wolves' tackle chart with 17, including 12 against Missouri State. He also had an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
"He’s a little pit bull,'' said defensive coordinator Joe Cauthen. He goes to hunt. He likes to hunt and he is going to find a way to find that ball now.
"He plays with great effort. He's not bigger than a minute. He's a good football player. We actually moved him to linebacker at the bowl game last year. He is going to keep playing."
Lain (5-10, 195) got his first start vs. Missouri State.
"I just wanted to carry everything from the practice field to the game field,'' he said. “We go real hard in practice and try to keep the tempo up constantly, and I just tried not to let the stage get me."