Aulbach: Topper offense miles ahead in Spring Game

Head coach Jeff Brohm reacts during the Red and White Spring Game Saturday, April 19, 2014, at Houchens Industries – L.T. Smith Stadium in Bowling Green, Ky. (Mike Clark/HERALD)

Lucas Aulbach

If Saturday’s Spring Game was any indication of things to come, Topper fans can expect their football team to put a lot of points on the board next season.

The Red Team offense, led by senior quarterback Brandon Doughty, lit up the scoreboard Saturday at Smith Stadium. The Reds beat the White Team 58-10.

The most impressive stretch came in the first quarter. Doughty and the Red offense were lights out in the first 15 minutes, extending the lead to 31-10 by the time the first period had expired. That lead had been extended to 38-10 by halftime.

“I thought we were pretty smooth,” Doughty said afterwards. “We got off to a pretty good start, kind of stumbled a little bit in the second quarter, but I thought we competed out there and I thought we played pretty well as a team.”

Before I draw too many conclusions about Saturday, it’s important to note that the Spring Game is nothing more than an intra-squad scrimmage. The defense WKU will face next season in Conference USA will be more than a little tougher than the one the Red offense took the field against this weekend.

But man, that offense looked pretty at points. Junior Leon Allen looks ready to take over for Antonio Andrews in that No. 1 running back role, and sophomore Anthony Wales was the quickest guy on the fields during his snaps.

The Topper receiving corps looked better than ever as well. Newcomers Atwane Grant and Jared Dangerfield, a pair of JUCO transfer wide receivers, each hauled in a touchdown catch to go with several other receptions — this was the first time either of them had played in front of WKU fans.

“Coach (Jeff) Brohm did a good job bringing those guys in,” Doughty said about his new targets. “I feel comfortable with those guys even in the short time we’ve had together.

WKU does, however, still need to find its identity on defense. In 2012 the Topper D was led by a strong set of four leaders on the defensive line. Last year it was hard-hitters like linebacker Andrew Jackson and safety Jonathan Dowling leading the way.

The WKU linebackers looked tough on Saturday, with senior Terran Williams and junior Nick Holt each showing their playmaking abilities, but Red Team wide receivers were open almost every snap. The Topper secondary — led by senior cornerback and 2013 first team All-Sun Belt selection Cam Thomas, who was admittedly absent with an injury Saturday — will need to pick it up if WKU wants to improve on last year’s 8-4 record.

Williams said he expects to see improvement before August rolls around.

“We could definitely do better, get some of those  guys that’s nicked-up back,” he said. “We’ve got a couple of injured guys.”

The biggest change over the offseason came at coach — if you hadn’t heard, Jeff Brohm replaced Bobby Petrino back in December.

Williams said Brohm brings an energy to the sidelines that players feed off of.

“With Coach Brohm being more of a player-type coach, we play more comfortable out there,” he said.

With spring 2014 in the books, the Toppers will now have a little time off before they hit the field for summer workouts.

They have work to do before the regular season starts. But Saturday, the Toppers showed they’re looking to make 2014 better than 2013.