REECER’S PIECE: Mistakes, bad choices plague Hilltoppers

John Reecer is the sports editor of the College Heights Herald during the spring 2016 semester.

John Reecer

For the past three weeks, the WKU football team has not played up to its potential.

During this span of time, the Hilltoppers only won one ballgame which was just a seven-point victory over lowly Miami (Ohio).

Most recently, WKU lost in overtime in heartbreaking fashion to a team it had absolutely no business losing to.

So why have the Toppers hit a rough patch for the first time since the 2014 season?

The answer isn’t a simple one as WKU has multiple problems to solve and some are more complex than others.

The most obvious problem is the Toppers have a hard time of taking care of the football. In the past two games alone, WKU has recorded over six turnovers.

Six turnovers against two teams who probably won’t be going to a bowl game this year is just not winning football.

Just by solving this problem alone would eliminate a lot of the trouble this team is putting itself through.

Another glaring weakness the Toppers have is its defense against the pass. While the defense as a whole has done a tremendous job compared to last season, opposing teams continue to have success through the air against WKU.

Take the performance of Vanderbilt University’s sophomore quarterback Kyle Shurmur from Saturday night for example.

Entering the game, the Commodores had only 376 passing yards combined in its first three games of the season.

Against the Toppers, Shurmur managed to pass for 279 yards total. In the fourth quarter and overtime alone, he managed to pass for 155 yards.

That kind of defensive performance is pretty awful no matter how hot game conditions were or how tired the players were.

This brings us to some of the more debatable reasons for why WKU is currently 2-2. The first of which is Head Coach Jeff Brohm’s decision to go for the two-point conversion in overtime against Vanderbilt.

Before I get too critical of the decision, it should be obvious that no one knows this Topper football team like Brohm does, which makes his football knowledge greater than that of an amateur sports writer.

Also, his players were supportive of his choice and if they converted the play, Brohm would be a genius and a hero.

However, the play resulted in an ugly incompletion and the Commodores got to celebrate a come-from-behind victory in Smith Stadium.

I understand the logic behind the choice, but I just don’t think it was the right decision.

The better team in a comfortable home environment should not have to go for a two-point conversion unless they have to.

That kind of pressure should also be on the away team regardless of how tired the home defense may seem to be.

Brohm should have waited to make this drastic decision in the second overtime just so his defense would have another chance to prove themselves.

Also, if the game would’ve made it to a third overtime, both teams would have had to go for two anyway after they scored, so it seemed Brohm’s decision was a hasty one.

Lastly, there is the Mike White situation.

The redshirt junior quarterback had a game for the ages against Rice University in his debut, but since then he has taken a step in the wrong direction as he has only passed for over 200 yards once.

Meanwhile, graduate senior quarterback Tyler Ferguson has looked very talented as his backup. He made a beautiful pass to junior wide receiver Nacarius Fant in Saturday’s game and didn’t get enough of a chance to build upon that play.

I won’t necessarily call for a benching of White, but Brohm needs to continue to give Ferguson playing time and experience.

The most important position in Brohm’s offense is quarterback and after four games it just doesn’t seem like White has full control of the offense yet.

He deserves more time to show improvement because of his talent and leadership, but Ferguson definitely needs to be ready to take over under center if White continues to play like this.

Overall, it’s a good thing WKU has time to sort out these problems with Houston Baptist coming up next, because that is exactly what this team needs right now.

Just a little more time and a little more patience.

Reporter John Reecer can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @Reece_12_Falcon.