LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Nearing the midway point of the season, Western Kentucky is still bidding for win number one in Conference USA as they head on the road this weekend. Six of the Toppers last seven games are against conference foes beginning with Saturday's visit to Florida Atlantic (2-4, 1-1).
WKU (2-3, 0-2) has had no trouble moving the ball and scoring points under first-year head coach and former offensive coordinator Jeff Brohm.They are ninth in the nation in scoring at 43 points per game. The issue has been stopping people. Opponents are scoring 38 points a contest.
Brohm is hoping a bye week has his team ready to go after a difficult 42-38 home loss to UAB.
“We want our players to understand that the difference is so small between winning and losing. You really have to do everything within your power to win,” said the former Trinity and U of L quarterback. “When you don't then it has to tick you off and make you mad. It's got to want you to find ways to individually get better and then as a unit and as a team get better.”
“I think this past week we really tried to practice hard, tried to look at ourselves individually as coaches on both sides of the ball, on special teams and get better as a team first and increase the competition in practice. I think that was productive so hopefully this week we'll have a good week of practice, concentrate more on Florida Atlantic and get ready to play.”
Brohm expects Junior Running Back Leon Allen to return this week after injuring his knee against UAB and sitting out practice last week.But he feels comfortable calling on Anthony ‘Ace' Wales if needed. The Sophomore from Central High School had a career high 138 yards rushing and three TD's against the Blazers.
“Ace did a very good for us,” Brohm said. “He's a guy that gives you a little bit different element. He's got speed, he's got elusiveness. He made some big runs for us that we probably haven't had around here in a while. He's taking it all the way to the end zone when he has some room. He's not as productive in between the tackles always but he's a guy we have to spread the field with a little bit more. We have to get him in open space and let him run to daylight. If we do that, he'll be very productive.”
“He's working on his weaknesses, which is hitting it up in there hard when the hole isn't there. Short-yardage runs where we need to get a yard, he's got to find a way to power it in there. He's worked hard at that. We're getting some guys behind him ready to go too.”
Especially frustrating for Western has been leading by double digits in each of its three defeats.
“I think the key for us is just finishing,” said Junior Defensive Lineman Gavin Rocker. “Every game that we lost, we were up at some point. The defense always comes out in the second half and we don't do as well as we did in the first half. The problem is we just need to finish. If we focus on that this week and play a full four quarters we will be fine.”
Kickoff against the Owls is Saturday at Noon eastern.