Quarterback play: After throwing two interceptions in the first half of last week's loss at Louisiana-Monroe, Ronnie Bell looked better in Saturday's loss to Western Kentucky.
He completed 26 of his 41 pass attempts for 325 yards and two touchdowns. However, he threw two more interceptions. The first came on a pass that he tried to lob over a defensive back in the third quarter. The second came on fourth down in the fourth quarter in what was essentially a punt.
“He played much better than he played last week, but there are still issues,” Miles said. “Ronnie is out there trying as hard as he can. He’s got to continue to make good decisions. In the heat of the battle he’ll make decisions that we have to coach him on.”
Miles was referring to the interceptions, but there also were passes that landed at receiver’s feet and a perfectly called screen pass that Bell threw into the back of an offensive lineman. Bell said he couldn’t see the running back, and just tried to place the ball into a space.
He also underthrew Danny Williams on a deep ball that may have resulted in a touchdown had the pass been more accurate. Because Williams had to wait for the ball, the defense had time to catch up and make the tackle.
“He played much better than he did last week, but it’s still a work in progress,” Miles said.
Running game: Miles said Jonathan Jean-Bart will see more playing time after leading the team in rushing for the second consecutive game. Jean-Bart finished with 53 yards, including his first touchdown on an 11-yard run in the third quarter.
Miles implied that Jean-Bart, a freshman, likely wouldn’t start ahead of Travis Evans because there are only three games left in Evans’ career. Miles said he doesn’t think it matters who starts.
“Jean-Bart is going to play more and more and more,” Miles said.
Hurry-up coming: The running game, which had 22 yards at halftime, began to improve in the second half after the Panthers switched to a hurry-up offense. They finished with 85 yards on 27 carries.
Miles said they would use more of the increased tempo during the rest of the season.
“We’re not going to hide it,” Miles said. “Every coach who plays is a smart coach and they’ll watch our film, so it doesn’t matter what I say here, as they’re going to watch it anyway.”
Quarterback Ronnie Bell and Jean-Bart both said they like the hurry-up offense.
“The no-huddle is more effective, it gets the defense more tired,” Bell said. “We have two options, the pass and the run, so we can catch them or keep them on their toes.”
Davis benched: Freshman wide receiver Robert Davis scored the Panthers' first touchdown on a 67-yard reception in the first quarter. Davis used his body to hold off the cornerback before juggling the ball for a few steps. He finally got control of it and sprinted in for the touchdown.
However, he did a little showboating when he got to the end zone, which Miles didn’t like.
Davis wasn’t flagged for taunting. However, he later picked up two personal-foul penalties, the last in the third quarter. Miles benched him after the second. Miles said Davis wouldn’t receive any more discipline.
Bell said the touchdown play was the result of a check at the line. He saw that Davis had single coverage on the left side of the formation.
Offensive line: The offensive line started its seventh different combination this season because of injuries or suspensions. Tim Wynn, normally a guard, became the fourth player to start at center this season. He played some at the position last week after Ronald Martin and Mark Ruskell sustained injuries.
Wynn added another position — receiver — in the fourth quarter, when he caught a deflected pass for three yards.
Targeting: Freshman defensive lineman Carnell Hopson was ejected, but then reinstated after an official review, for targeting Western Kentucky quarterback Brandon Doughty in the third quarter. Doughty was scrambling and slid feet first at the 40-yard line, when Hopson dove to tackle him. Doughty was down for several minutes afterward.
It was the first time the Panthers were flagged for the infraction this season.
Etc: Davis' 67-yard touchdown reception in the first quarter was the longest in school history for someone other than Wilson. … Sophomore Avery Sweeting's 19-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter was the first of his career.