With only five healthy, experienced players returning, the defensive line will face a lack of depth when the season kicks off tonight against Union.
But what the defensive line lacks in depth, they make up for with talent and experience. Starters Chad Kincaid, Irele Oderinde and Getty Cavitt are all seniors.
Defensive coordinator Don Martindale said those guys are ready to show what they can do.
Coach David Elson agrees that depth is an issue with the line, but he remains confident that opposing offensive lines will not push around his men.
“I’m excited about them,” Elson said. “We are a little bit thin and a little bit undersized like we have always been, but you cannot measure the heart of guys like Chad Kincaid, Irele Oderinde and Kinnus Paul.”
The trio will have to replace two-time All-Gateway performer Patrick Reynolds as well as Arthur Wilson, but Martindale is enthused by his veteran crew.
“They are going to show some things (tonight) that’s going to be fun to watch,” Martindale said.
The offensive line is similar.
Senior Joe Washington and junior Buster Ashley will anchor the line.
Ashley was selected as the third best offensive tackle in division I-AA by The Sports Network and is a Street and Smith preseason all-american.
“I expect great things,” Elson said. “I think it is still the strength of our offense. We have the most experience there, and we have some really talented players in Buster and Joe Washington, and I think they will be as good if not better than they were last year.”
After years of worn out, mismatched uniforms, Western will sport a new look this fall. The Toppers will take on Union wearing fresh jerseys from Nike.
The new look will be a departure from past seasons when the Toppers played at home. Instead of wearing white pants with the red top, Western will wear gray bottoms.
Also new this season, “Western Kentucky” will be printed below the neckline and above the numbers on the jersey shirt. The helmet has also traded in block letters for the red towel. Nike was always a name Elson liked, but this was the first season a deal could be worked out.
Reach Michael Casagrande at [email protected]