WKU Football: What To Watch For — Tops vs. Owls

There goes Big Red again, eating things he shouldn’t be eating.

Here we are Topper fans, it’s football season and WKU is set to take the field as one of three games on the opening weekend that pit conference foes against each other.

Every week I will bring you a “what to watch for” leading up to who ever the Hilltoppers face. Some weeks it may be a short “one team is good, one is bad” and others it could be a thesis paper.

So without further adieu, here’s what to watch for in week one.

1.) New QB’s On The Block

The Rice Owls come into L.T. Smith Stadium off of an abysmal year in Houston. The Owls, just like WKU, will have a new starting quarterback at the helm. Tops fans need to watch for one of their QB’s to come out of the woodworks. Dryphus Jackson, who was the signal caller for Rice last season, was a dual threat quarterback, so Tops fans expect an Owl team to come out trying to knock a Hilltopper team off their block early. However, if we have learned anything from Rice in seasons past, they’re not ones for the dramatics nor catching anyone off guard.

So with Rice being an underwhelming opponent what from the Tops is there to watch for? Well, after a long contested QB battle, Mike White has finally been tabbed with the starting role. Jeff Brohm has said over the past few weeks they’ll have packages that also include Tyler Ferguson and Drew Eckles, just incase the worst happens.

2.) Run, Run, Toppers

The second thing to watch for heading into week one is the two headed running back tandem the Tops will have in the backfield. My best guess is Brohm and Co. will use Ace as the featured back and Ferby will come in as the short field back. Marquez Trigg will be someone to watch out for too, as he posted an impressive fall camp.

3.) Gotta Catch ’Em All

Finally on the offense Tops fans need to watch for what the reciving corps is going to do. Taywan Taylor returns but Will Bush and Xavier Lane are two that will add a fun dimention to a group that needs to be there for QB’s with not much game experience. Nacarius Fant showed positive signs last year, but can he translate that into a larger role this season?

4.) Give ’Em The D

Moving from Topper offense to Topper defense, I honestly — and unfortunately — see this season playing out a lot like 2013 with a really good defense that keeps the Red and White in a lot of games, but an offense that underwhelms a lot of the time.

The linebacking group will be the focal point of this squad with leading CUSA tackler T.J. McCullum returning and the transfers of Nick Dawson-Brents and Keith Brown. At the safety position WKU returns Marcus Ward and Brandon Leston, on the Defensive line Omar Bryant and Tanner Reeves return to plug gaps and pressure the quarterback.

Overall, as the Tops look to replace Mr. Hilltopper Brandon Doughty, it is important to keep in mind the Tops return all five starters on the offensive line and two running backs from the season before, both that will make it a lot easier for a new QB.

What are your “what to watch for” keys as we approach the opening of the season? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter @TheTowelRackWKU.

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