Senior QB set to lead offense one last time

Offensive lineman Matt Nord, #69, left, practices a drill with teammate, Julien Lewis, #96, defensive lineman, right, during a football practice at L.T. Smith Stadium on WKU’s campus on March 25, 2014. EMILY KASK/ Herald

Billy Rutledge

When redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty came to WKU six years ago, the expectations of the Hilltopper football program were much different. 

WKU had just finished their 2009-10 campaign with a 0-12 record in their first season in the Sun Belt Conference and Head Coach David Elson was fired before Doughty visited Bowling Green.

Now, after leading the nation in passing yards (4,830), touchdowns (49) and helping WKU place fourth nationally in total offense in last fall’s inaugural season in Conference USA, Doughty returns to the Hill one final time with greater aspirations and a large goal in sight.

“Expectations are high and that is how it is suppose to be,” Doughty said. “I think we can be the best offense in the nation and I truly believe that because I respect and know how these guys work on the offensive side of the ball, so I’m excited to see what happens this year.”

WKU broke or tied 50 school records in 2014, a large part of which was done by Doughty. In his first full season as starter, Doughty set or helped set several school records including completion percentage (65.8), single-game passing yards (387, Troy, 10/26) and helped lead a WKU offense to a single-season school record in total yards (5,502).

It would have been Doughty’s last season at WKU if not for a medical hardship waiver he was granted for missing the 2012 season with a knee injury. This season, Doughty will have some familiar faces as the offense returns seven starters from the historic 2014 campaign and Head Coach Jeff Brohm and Offensive Coordination Tyson Helton return for their second season on the Hill. 

“The guys know the offense well, they are very comfortable,” Helton said. “They know how to win it’s just a matter of getting better everyday and staying healthy so if we do that I think we will be fine.

“I think you have to keep up with the times, always be creative. This offseason we did a lot of film study on some of the other teams that did well offensively and have implemented some of those things. At the end of the day its about getting W’s and we are focussed on trying to get better.”

WKU has started spring practice for the 2015 season, and Monday marked the first time the team practice with pads on. 

Returning starters on offense include left tackle Forrest Lamp, left guard Brandon Ray, right guard Darrell Williams on the offensive line, running back Leon Allen, who ran for 1,542 yards and 13 TD’s, and wide receivers Taywan Taylor and Jared Dangerfield, who scored a combined 18 TD’s.

The crew will be met with the 106th ranked recruiting class in Division I football according to and according to the offense, the team is already beginning to step up.

“The guys that are supposed to be the players are making plays and that’s good to see,” Helton said. “They are out here trying to prove they are still good players. We have a lot of young guys offensively that we redshirted last year that are getting a lot of reps right now and they are working hard.”

“The guys know the offense well, they are very comfortable, they know how to win it’s just a matter of getting better everyday and staying healthy so if we do that I think we will be fine.”

Doughty’s curtain call is much different than when he first enrolled at WKU. From Willie Taggart to Bobby Petrino to Jeff Brohm; from a first-year record of 2-10 to last season’s record of 8-4 and WKU’s first FBS bowl victory in school history, Doughty has seen the football program go through ups and downs.

Doughty’s outlook on this season, and handling the high expectations, come at a pretty excited tone in the senior quarterback’s final season.

“We do things right, on or off the field, these guys are working really hard,” Doughty said. “I really think our team is headed in a positive direction.”