Black Still a Hilltopper; Future is Uncertain

By: James Brandenburg Email
By: James Brandenburg Email

Despite an unexcused absence from practice Tuesday after learning he'd been benched, sophomore quarterback K.J. Black's still a member of the Western Kentucky University football team.

"He's still with us," WKU head coach David Elson said after Wednesday night's practice. "It's a tough situation that we're dealing with and he's dealing with internally. That's really where we're at with it."

Elson informed Black he'd been replaced as the Hilltoppers' starting quarterback by senior David Wolke on Tuesday. Black later skipped that evening's practice and, according to Elson, didn't communicate with the coaching staff until speaking with Elson early Wednesday.

Elson wouldn't specify what he and Black discussed, saying those matters were internal. He classified the feelings Black communicated to the coaching staff about his benching in the same manner.

Black was not at Wednesday night's practice, but Elson said afterward that Black wasn't expected to attend the workout.

Elson also said there's no timetable as yet for when a decision about Black's status with the team will be made.

"We're working through it and there hasn't been anything specific set on the table as far as when we're going to get all this worked out," Elson said. "We obviously have a lot of things going on right now and we're leaving tomorrow (for Saturday's game at Virginia Tech), so it's tough. But we'll figure out a way to work through it."

He did say he doesn't expect Black to travel with the team when it leaves for Blacksburg.

"It's a tough situation that we're just dealing with literally on a minute-to-minute basis," said Elson. "We just have to make our way through this and at some point we'll figure out what direction all of us are going to head."

For now, WKU football heads in the direction of Wolke at quarterback and junior Brandon Smith as his backup when it plays the Hokies. Wolke's 1-1 as WKU starter this season and has appeared in four games, completing 41 of 72 passes for 461 yards and three touchdowns with two interceptions. He's also rushed for 46 yards and another score on 24 carries.

And when or if Black returns to the team, Elson said past situations aren't likely to be any indication of what Black's future could be.

"Every situation is different - Why? How? What led to it? Communication, all those things. So, there's no formula on how many or why guys have worked through situations that are similar. They're all just so unique that's it's just impossible to answer."


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