Wednesday, August 27, 2014

BlogSwap with Wave the Red Towel

One of the things we like to do--especially with non-conference opponents--is line ourselves up with a Q&A with a blog from our opponent.  This week, we are swapping with Fletcher from Wave the Red Towel, a blog that focuses on the WKU scene down in the other Bowling Green.  Here are his answers to my questions, and then mine will be up on his site later in the week.  Thanks much to Fletcher for helping to educate the BG fan base on WKU.

Oh, and below is the video he references in the first answer.  You owe it to yourself to see Brohm after the hit he took (pre-targeting rules...but it was the XFL) with his nose poking out the ear hole.  No good for those with a weak stomach.

1. Talk about the state of the program. You're just a few years into FBS, moved into a new conference and had a one-year dalliance with a famous coach. How has the WKU trip into the FBS gone?

WKU's brief history in FBS has seen in a few short years (the Tops' first FBS season was in 2009) what many programs see in decades in terms of problems and growth. 2009 and 2010 saw a combined record of 2-22, but since then, WKU has been bowl eligible in each of the least three seasons - including a highly talked about snub in 2011, a matchup vs. Central Michigan in the 2012 Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, and another snub last year after an 8-4 season, the program's best ever record in FBS. Couple that with a fanbase falling in love with a coach (Willie Taggart, now at South Florida), an explainable run with Bobby Petrino (Which still, to this day, I can't believe happened) and now being headed by a guy who is famous (for lack of a better term) for a rant back in the days of the XFL. WKU, somehow, is becoming a football hot bed.

2. You've got a new coach...what have you seen from him so far and what kind of offensive and defensive style does he play?

Jeff Brohm was the offensive coordinator last year under Petrino, and was brought on to almost follow up Petrino when he inevitably left town (although, if the Louisville job hadn't opened up, I whole heartedly believe Bobby P. would still be on the WKU sidelines). Under Brohm last year, WKU averaged just under 460 yards a game (a lot of that was thanks to Antonio Andrews), and that was with a first year college quarterback in Brandon Doughty. Everything that I have heard and seen makes me believe that a majority of the defensive planning is still with defensive coordinator from last year, Nick Holt, and I believe he runs a basic 4-3. Brohm, a former QB, likes to get the most out of his quarterbacks, and with running back a question at this point, we might see a whole lot of air yards in week 1.

3. Obviously, you lost the awesome RB Antonio Andrews, who is now with the Titans and also lost a potential replacement in JUCO Travis Lock. How do the Hilltoppers look at RB?

The loss of Antonio Andrews hurts, no doubt. Travis Locke, on the other hand, didn't have enough time with the program to really make any sort of immediate impact or leave any impression, so his loss isn't as bad as if it could have been if he played for a year or so. I think history will repeat itself this year - after Bobby Rainey (now with the Bucs) graduated, it was anybody's guess as to who would fill the void, and come the Kentucky game in 2012, it was the A.A. show. This year, we have a better understanding of who is the sure fire #1 QB - Leon Allen - and it may take a game or two, but I think the big guy, who I've heard people saw was a better football player than Andrews, will become just the next in a continuous line of great RBs we have here at WKU.

4. You had big losses at LB last year. How are the new guys shaping up, especially JUCO Dejon Brown.

WKU lost Xavius Boyd (now with Buffalo), Andrew Jackson (Indianapolis) and Jonathan Dowling (Oakland) last year, and while the defense will certainly lack from the ball-hawk sensibility of the guys (especially Dowling), it wasn't the soundest of defenses - a lot of big plays, a lot of missed tackles and a lot of penalties. It's probably the area WKU comes into the season with the most question marks. I see you noted Dejon Brown, but I haven't heard anything out of practice about him, which is good and bad I suppose. Friday will be my first time seeing him as well, so I'll let you know how he'll impact the defense.

5. Speaking of JUCOs, you guys have worked that angle pretty hard. Beyond Brown, are there other JUCOs expected to contribute Friday?

It's something the basketball team (and, while most people might not realize it, baseball team too) does a lot as well, and I guess it's something that you have to do when you're 1.) third-fiddle in your state and 2.) a mid-major program. But, we've seen great results from doing it before, so don't fix what aint broken, I suppose. A good number of the JUCO guys - like Brown - are defensive players, and that'll hopefully bring some immediate answers to the biggest question mark on this team.

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