New style of Hilltopper football highlights media day

Head Coach Jeff Brohm watches quarterback Brandon Doughty in warmups before the WKU vs Middle Tennessee State University game on Sept. 13, 2014. Nick Wagner/HERALD

Billy Rutledge

The WKU Football team hosted its annual Media Day Saturday in the Jack and Jackie Harbaugh Club. Head Coach Jeff Brohm and seniors Brandon Doughty and Nick Holt spoke to members of the media about several topics, with the overall theme of the morning being change.

After a 2014 campaign that saw the Hilltoppers achieve their first FBS Bowl victory and break multiple records offensively, Brohm and company preached about a more balanced football team if they hope to succeed again this year.

“I think our guys are ready for the season,” Brohm said. “ I think that this is exactly where we want to be. We want some pressure to be put on us to succeed and win at a high level and I think that is what this program needs to do is to continue to move forward and take that next step and I think with this schedule and the challenges ahead of us, we have to play at a high level to win.”

To play at that high level, the Hilltoppers will have to improve defensively. Giving up an average of 39.9 points and 509.9 yards of total offense per game, WKU constantly found themselves in high scoring shootouts. The offensively minded Hilltoppers achieved eight wins last year by putting up over 44 points per game.

“When you look at Conference USA, even though it’s known as an offensive league, six out of the eight C-USA Champions the last eight years all led the conference in total defense,” Brohm said. “We feel like we are going to be much better on defense as well. We added a few key components to the puzzle, the players we played last year got stronger and are more prepared.”

The Hilltoppers’ style of play led to the increased success of Doughty. After throwing for 4,830 passing yards, throwing 49 touchdowns to only 10 interceptions and completing 67.9 percent of his passes, Doughty was seen as one of the best QB’s in college football.

“We obviously want Brandon Doughty to have a great year but I think if he’s able to achieve those numbers, we are probably not going to be winning the way I want,” Brohm said. “To win football games in the right manner, we probably won’t put up those number so he needs to understand winning is the most important thing and we are going to try and do that every time we step on the field.”

WKU looks to take the next step starting September 3 with their season opener on the road against Vanderbilt. The increased competition will come as well in 2015 as the Hilltoppers face two SEC opponents, a Big Ten opponent in Indiana and a strong C-USA schedule.

With their work cut out for them, and expectations higher than ever, the 2015 season will define the football program at WKU.