Thursday, August 28, 2014

25 Questions from the Hilltop

I never saw what the big deal was
about Big Red.  This photo is
taken from
 What is their body of work?

They have been coming around.  They have been bowl eligible the last two years, snubbed twice, including last year at 8-4.  They had a one year adventure with Bobby Petrino last year and now have Jeff Brohm coaching, who was OC last year.

How many seniors and juniors on the two-deep?

25, which is a typical number.  They have 6 JUCO transfers on the two-deep.

Who are their returning statistical leaders?

QB Brandon Doughty was #21 in the nation in completion % and #22 in completions.
CB Cam Thomas was #17 in passes defended and #20 in interceptions.

What was their turnover ratio?

WKU was 8-4 while being -10 on turnovers.  This is no small feat.


 How is their QB play expected to be?

Brandon Doughty is returning to start his second season.  He had a big game against Kentucky to start the season last year, then threw 5-picks against Tennessee before settling into a decent year.  He completed a high percentage of his passes (65.8%) but with only 7 yards per attempt, so they were high percentage passes.  He had a 14/14 ratio, but the Tennessee game set him back.  Phil Steele has him ranked as the 5th best QB in C-USA.

Say what you like, this is really cute.

What was their scoring and yards per play?

They scored 31 points per game, which was 3rd in C-USA.  They averaged 6.3 yards per play.

Can they run the ball?

Well this is an open question.  Their All-American, Antonio Andrews is gone, as is a potential JUCO replacement.  Leon Allen is slated to start. He averaged about 7 carries a game at 5 yards a carry last year.  Before losing the JUCO guy, Steele had the RBs 7th in C-USA.

Did they pass the ball?

They did last year.  They were 4th in C-USA in passing efficiency.

How was their run/pass balance?

They ran the ball 50% with Andrews last year, so I'd expect a most pass-rich mix this year.

Did they convert on 3rd Down?

They did last year, with 46%, which is very good.

Did they score in the red zone?

They had 4.9 points per trip last year, which is pretty average.

The most famous export from
Bowling Green, KY
Did they protect the quarterback?

They had 27 sacks last year, with was 6.6% of passing attempts, which is mildly on the high side, especially for a team throwing low-risk routes.  Steele has them ranked as the 4th best O-line in C-USA.

Topline: Scoring and yards per play.

They allowed 24.6 points per game, which was top in their conference.  However, they return only 4 starters from that unit and have some JUCO replacements.  Three players from last year's defense are in NFL camps.  This is a big question for the game.

Did they defend the run effectively?

They were very good (4.3 ypc) last year, but Steele has them with the #7 DL and the #10 LB.  Obviously, since the guys are relatively new this is an unknown area.

Could they be passed on?

Last year they were excellent on this measure.  Again, they had heavy losses are Steele has the DB ranked #11.  CB Cam Thomas is a stud.

Did they get off the field on 3rd down?

They allowed 45% last year, which is not good for such an effective defense.

Did they defend in the red zone?
Waving red towels is their thing.
Beats Cowbells.

Last year it was 5 points a trip, also not good.

Did they pressure the QB?

20 sacks for the year on 312 passing attempts, 6.4%.
Special Teams:


Their main punter from last year graduated.  The current punter had 6 attempts for only 33 yards per attempt.

Punt Return?

Andrews also returned punts for them.  The current guy was Willie McNeal, a starting WR, who only had 4 attempts last year.  They did block one punt.


Schwettman was pretty good last year.  He was 13 out of 16, with a long of only 44 and 11-13 inside 40.
If you date shows up wearing a pair
of these....R-U-N

This is pretty open.  Their punter did this and had 11 TBs last year and they were pretty good.  The current punter kicked off
19 times with no TBs.

Kickoff Return?

Andrews returned kickoffs as well, so this is an open question.

Miscellaneous: Overall atmospherics and intangibles.

The biggest intangible is that WKU has really been drawing well at  home.  Last year, they filled 81% capacity at their home field, and that likely gives them a big advantage, especially in an opener.  WKU also has the advantage of working under essentially the same system as they did lat year, unlike the Falcons.  (Not to be negative...the Falcons have a contrasting advantage, which is a bunch of guys who are confident and used to playing with each other).

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