Training Days: Offense looks sharp in second scrimmage

Quarterback Brandon Doughty (12) passes through traffic during the first half of WKU’s 44-28 victory over Georgia State Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Ga.

Kyle Williams

WKU closed out its second week of fall training camp on Saturday with a closed, two-hour scrimmage inside Smith Stadium where the Hilltopper offense stole the show.

The offensive units unofficially combined for 13 total touchdowns – 12 of which came through the air.

Redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Doughty said the attack looked sharp despite a few missed assignments.

“I thought we were really crisp,” Doughty said. “That was the key going into the scrimmage. We wanted to be real crisp. We wanted to have no (missed assignments), but M.A.’s happened today a little bit. But I think we all came out there and we competed every single down.”

The first-team offense orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard drive on the opening possession, led by three of the Hilltoppers’ most notable playmakers – Doughty, junior running back Leon Allen and redshirt senior receiver Willie McNeal.

Allen caught a swing pass on the right and left side of the field on the first two plays to earn a first down before a strike to McNeal on a slant route gave the offense another set of downs.

McNeal would go on to cap the drive with an 11-yard touchdown reception on a fade route in the end zone. Doughty completed all seven of his passes on the opening drive for 68 yards.

According to offensive coordinator Tyson Helton, the Hilltoppers will be a bit unpredictable on offense this season, but he said Doughty has a firm grip on the system – whether it’s fast or slow. 

“It’s getting a little smoother,” Helton said. “Going back and forth between whether we want to slow it down or pick it up. I think Brandon (Doughty) handles it really well.”

The second-team offense then took the field with junior quarterback Nelson Fishback behind center. Fishback and junior receiver Antwane Grant failed to connect twice early in the drive, but ultimately ended it with a 38-yard touchdown hookup.

Doughty began his next drive two-for-two for 49 yards with completions to sophomore receiver Taywan Taylor and McNeal, respectively, but then recorded his first incompletion of the day on a dropped ball intended for Taylor. He responded with a 16-yard touchdown pass to redshirt sophomore Ace Wales on the next play.

The majority of the first-team offense lined up against most of the first-team defense on the next drive, ending with Doughty going five-for-six and finding redshirt junior Jared Dangerfield on a jump ball in the back of the end zone for a four-yard score.

Doughty finished the first half having completed 15 of his 17 attempts for 200 yards and three touchdowns.

“The first half the offense came out and executed pretty well,” Head Coach Jeff Brohm said. “Our playmakers stepped up and made plays, which has to happen. Our o-line played well. Then we have a big, tough running back who, when we get him the ball, he’s very effective too. He made a lot of guys miss in space.”

Fishback took the field on the next drive and rushed for a loss of a yard before launching a 66-yard touchdown pass to freshman receiver Nacarius Fant streaking down the sideline.

“I thought it was a solid job,” Helton said of the quarterback play. “They made some good decisions – a lot of big plays downfield and that’s what was probably the most impressive. We’ve been talking about it as an offense…hadn’t really got that as much as we wanted to, but today they came out there and did a nice job.”

Redshirt junior quarterback Troy Jones threw the only interception of the game to freshman defensive back Martavius Mims on the following drive, which has been a point of emphasis for Brohm thus far.

“We’ve definitely concentrated on protecting the football and not turning the ball over. That’s a key to victory,” Brohm said. “That hurt us last year. We’re definitely trying to make sure we execute in the red zone better – get touchdowns, not turn the ball over there as well. And getting lined up to play fast and getting in shape to do that. We’re trying to develop depth at the skill positions, so they can rotate in and out and we can keep the pace at a good tempo.”

Additional notes:

– Defenders made no contact with the quarterbacks.

– Doughty went on to throw one more touchdown to Allen in the second half.

– Fishback recorded four total touchdowns – three in the air and one 21-yard rush.

– Fant notched a second touchdown reception from Jones in the second half.

– Sophomore quarterback Todd Porter recorded 51- and 49-yard touchdown passes to redshirt freshman receiver Kylen Towner and freshman receiver De’Vonta Moffitt, respectively.

– Freshman quarterback Drew Eckels threw touchdown passes to Towner and senior receiver Lonnie Turner.