Cubit, Broncos Preparing for the Unknown

Notes from Western Michigan coach Bill Cubit's Monday morning media session...

- The matchup with Illinois has been tough for Cubit and his assistants to prepare for due to the unknown that comes with facing a team with a new coaching staff…

"This is another tough one for us because two-fold, we're dealing with a quality opponent and also the uncertainty of schemes," Cubit said. "We know that their coach came from a lot of different spots. It's just tough to gauge what exactly they're going to do, even though coach (Tim) Beckman came from Toledo. I think their schemes will be a little bit different on offense, defense and special teams. We have to prepare for everything."

- Illinois and Western Michigan have played four times in the past. The Illini hold a 3-1 record in the series, winning last season 23-20. Cubit likes playing Illinois both for the challenge and for logistical reasons…

"I think the one thing is it's a quality institution, quality program that we really like playing," he said. "The other thing is it's regional. It doesn't make sense to me to spend a lot of money on charter planes flying across the country when we can play teams of high caliber here. I think we're happy that Illinois reciprocated and was willing to come up here to Kalamazoo (in 2016) and play us here."

- The Broncos have 10 players from the state of Illinois and many others from the Midwest region. Cubit said that helps motivate his team for games such as these…

"I think a lot of our kids probably have a little chip on their shoulder at times," he said. "I didn't recruited by those guys here. I should be one of those guys, so you know you build that thing up a little.

"Our kids got to rachet it up pretty good on the lines and they've always had great skill kids, so it's been a nice series for us. Our kids are excited about it. We've got Illinois kids on our team and of course Indiana is a (recruiting) hot spot. The Midwest flavor really helps our kids."

- Last season Western Michigan and Toledo, coached by Beckman at the time, played in one of the most exciting contests of the year. Toledo won 66-63 in a game that wowed on-lookers from across the country. Cubit said people still stop him to talk about that game…

"It's just I've never been involved in a game like that in my coaching career and it went down to the wire," Cubit said. "Unfortunately we made a few more mistakes than what they made and it was a game that was that was probably exciting for everyone everywhere I go."

- On senior quarterback Alex Carder, who threw for over 3,800 yards and 31 touchdowns in 2011…

"I think he's always been a leader," Cubit said. "I think he's more of a leader this year. I think he understands the offense. The offense really slows down, I notice, in our progression of quarterbacks in (their) last year.

"He's got a new cast of characters out there, but I love the way he's handled it. It's not all about me and you've got to give him the spot. It's all about the team. I think he's playing better then he has all of last year. I think he's doing some things that will leave you feeling, wow, that was pretty impressive. He's going to really have to play well for us to win."

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