With a three-game home stand ahead and a homecoming showdown with Conference USA rival UTEP looming, WKU Football hit the gridiron for a high-energy practice session Tuesday evening at Houchens Industries-L.T. Smith Stadium.
The Hilltoppers are coming off a tough loss at league unbeaten Louisiana Tech where they were held to season lows in points and yards while committing a season-high five turnovers. As head coach Jeff Brohm noted in his Monday press conference, it’s time for the Tops to move on and get better and that’s what WKU accomplished Tuesday.
Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton’s offense is still on pace to re-write nearly every WKU record despite last week’s setback. Led by redshirt senior quarterback Brandon Douhgty’s 3,005 yards and 25 touchdowns, Helton’s unit is one of 12 in the FBS averaging over 40 points per game in 2014.
After being held under 300 yards for the first time since Nov. 10, 2012, and being stifled to 4-of-15 on third down last week in Ruston, the Hilltoppers are determined to re-establish themselves as an elite offense this week against UTEP.
“They’ve had seven good games and they were off last week, obviously,” said Helton. “I think the guys are fired up now. They’re excited. ‘Hey, we’ve got something to prove’. They can’t wait to play the next game.”
One of Doughty’s many weapons this season has been senior tight end Mitchell Henry, who has hauled in 22 catches for 371 yards and three touchdowns for the Hilltoppers’ high-scoring attack. The John Mackey Award Midseason Watch List member said the key component to bouncing back this week is confidence.
“Offensively, we have to focus on what LA Tech did to us,” said Henry. “Teams are going to watch that film, press us more, blitz and we have to come up with schemes to defeat that and get our confidence back, which I think we did in today’s practice.”
Saturday’s game will feature contrasting styles as WKU’s Conference USA-leading passing attack duels one of the league’s top rushing offenses, as UTEP average over 200 yards on the ground per game. Kickoff for the homecoming contest is set for 3 p.m. (CT).