Monday, May 31, 2010

Preview WKU Game #2

The Western Kentucky Hilltoppers fired Dave Elson in the middle of the 09 season and hired former player and Stanford Coach Willie Taggart. At this time, the Hilltoppers are on a 20 game losing skid and quite honestly needed a fresh start. The hiring of Taggart looks to be a home run and if things work out right, he could go down as a legend on "The Hill". Taggart is an excellent recruiter (he has recruiting ties all over the Southeast and California), should be able to provide excitement to the program and comes as a hard nosed coach who loves his players and will get them "right" sooner rather than later. If there was ever a right coach, for the right time, for the right school--THIS IS IT!!!

The bad news (and there is plenty of it) is that as stated before the Hilltoppers are on a 20 game losing skid, so there is no where to go but up. Willie inherits an extremely young team especially on defense and will be able to soon mold it into a formidible unit especially by Sun Belt Conference Standards.

His first order of business was to get rid of the spread and go to the West Coast Offense and change the Defense from a 3-4 to a 4-3. The Hilltoppers simply did not have the personnel to match the defense.

Defensively, WKU was extremely young last year starting 7 players which were either Freshmen or Sophomores. The good news, these players all return this year and look to exact some revenge for getting beat up throughout the 09 season. Jared Clendenin leads the Dline from a DE spot and looks to be a real playmaker. The strength and experience of the team lies in the linebacking corps where all 3 returning starters are Seniors. By far, the weak link of the team seems to be the DBs where it looks like there will be open season for opposing offenses.

On Offense, the Toppers return a 900 yard rusher in Bobby Rainey and look to transfer Matt Pelesasa to lead the team at the QB position. WR, W McNeal and TE Jack Doyle look to be playmakers for a team that needs to stretch the field. The Oline returns 3 starters and should also be much better this year for various reasons.

Look for WKU to take major steps forward this year. There is a new energy at Western and everyone seems to be buying in to what Willie is selling. It will take at least 2 full years to get this thing completely turned around, once it gets turned Taggart will be a hot commodity.

All in all, Western should win at least 3-4 games this year and could possibly win as many as 6 depending on how quickly the team adapts to the new Offensive and Defensive Philosophies.

Recruits seem to be listing WKU more this year as a school of preference than in previous years which should help ease the rough waters in the future.

For the Toppers to upset UK would be monumental, but the horses, talent and depth just are not there yet.


  1. Really like this post and the way it is worded... WKU has def turned a huge corner and will soon become a power house to be recond with. Watch for WKU to win a minimum of 4 games this year if WKU can hold it together and not let the 20 game losing streak get to their heads.

    GO TOPS!!

  2. As a Hilltopper fan living in Lexington, I'm looking forward to the next four years of WKU vs UK. Taggart managed to put most of his staff together and recruit a repectable group of players in his first 60 days. We're definitely going to see a different team from Bowling Green this season. If Willie can continue to build on his early success, I believe the Toppers will be ready to give the Cats a serious battle by game 3 or 4.