WKU’s offensive line steps up during winning streak

Brad Stephens

The WKU offensive line broke a self-assigned vow of

silence Saturday after beating Louisiana-Lafayette.

The group said before the season it wouldn’t conduct

interviews with media until the Toppers broke a home losing streak

that dated back to 2008.

Head Coach Willie Taggart said the men up front have

themselves to thank for ending that streak Saturday at Smith


The WKU line helped the Toppers rush for 234 yards

that day in the 42-23 win.

Our offensive line played its best

ballgame and I think that’s a big reason why we got the results we

did,” Taggart said.

Solid play up front has coincided with the team’s

first three-game win streak since 2007, and a 3-1 league record at

the halfway mark of Sun Belt Conference play.

The unit has come a long way since

Taggart called for improved offensive line play following WKU’s

season-opening 14-3 loss to Kentucky.

Junior tight end Jack Doyle said

more on-field communication has led to better results for the

offensive line.

“It’s just talking out there out on

the field,” he said. “We can regurgitate things in meetings, back

to (offensive line coach Walt) Wells, but it’s just getting some

play under our belt and talking and playing together.”

There’s been a mix of veteran

experience and new blood within the unit.

On the veteran side, senior left

tackle Wes Jeffries and junior right guard Adam Smith have been

around the program for awhile.

Jeffries, a four-year starter, was

recently named a Midseason First-team All-Sun Belt selection by

college football analyst Phil Steele.

Meanwhile sophomore left guard Luis

Polanco and redshirt freshman right tackle Cameron Clemmons have

solidified starting spots early in their careers.

Clemmons, who stands 6-foot-6 and

weighs 291 pounds, has seen more playing time in recent weeks,

filling a spot formerly held by junior Seth White.

Sophomore center Sean Conway said

he’s been impressed with Clemmons’ development during his first

year on the field.

“Cameron is a great player and he

really knows the offense,” Conway said. “He still makes freshman

mistakes, but we all have.”

Clemmons and the rest of the Topper

line will take part in a strength-on-strength matchup when they

play Louisiana-Monroe (2-5,1-2 Sun Belt Conference) on the road at

2:30 p.m. Saturday.

ULM gives up just 100.3 rushing

yards per game, by far the lowest total in the Sun Belt.

By contrast WKU rushes for 164.4

yards per game, the second-highest total in the league.

“They’re fast and physical. It’ll be

a great challenge,” Conway said of the Warhawk defense. “What we

want to do is run the ball, as everyone knows. So it’s a great

challenge to pound it to them.”

A win for WKU would put the Toppers

at 4-1 in Sun Belt play and just two wins from bowl


Conway said the Toppers’ front five

aren’t concerned about an emotional letdown against ULM coming off

last week’s home win.

“Our offensive line, we just stay

cool,” Conway said. “We never get too high or never get too low. We

keep doing what we’re doing, stick to the game plan.”