Prior to the Hilltoppers opening fall camp on Wednesday, WKUInsider visited with both of WKU's coordinators to get a few of their thoughts on the upcoming start of the fall season.
Entering his second year on The Hill, offensive coordinator Tyson Helton welcomes back a strong nucleus of a record-setting offense. Quarterback Brandon Doughty led the nation in passing yards and touchdowns in 2014 returns, as does running back Leon Allen, Conference USA's third leading rusher last season.
WKUInsider: Following a season that could be described as a breakout for Brandon Doughty, how great is it to have him return for another season?
Tyson Helton: “Brandon Doughty is a true program guy. He's a great player. He's a great person. He represents the program tremendously well. He's everything that you want a quarterback to be. We're very blessed to have him and excited to see what he does during his last season here.”
WKUInsider: The Hilltoppers were selected to win the Conference USA East Division by league media. That's an impressive spot for a program that is entering its second year in the conference.
Tyson Helton: “We try not to by into all that. We're kind of a blue-collar bunch. As you remember, we had our rough times last year and now how quickly you can get into those situations, so we are going to take it one game at a time. Our main is focus is Vandy coming right out of the gate and we'll be ready to play and won't worry about anything past that.”
WKUInsider: Do you feel that momentum has carried over from last season that saw WKU win its final five games, including a victory in the Bahamas Bowl?
Tyson Helton: “It was real exciting. We finished extremely strong. We just have to pick up where we left off. I think we have really good talent coming back and I'm excited about some of the younger guys that we had an opportunity to redshirt. You're going to see a lot of new names out there that I think will make plays for us, so it's going to be an exciting year. We're looking forward to that first one.”
WKUInsider: WKU football has quickly built an image of a fast-paced, pass-happy offense and the numbers somewhat back that up. There are also plenty of signs that the offense is much more balanced than perception may have one believer, as WKU became first program in FBS history to have a quarterback throw for over 4,500 yards while also having a back rush for more than 1,500 in the same season.
Tyson Helton: “What's great about coach is that he's extremely knowledgeable of all offenses. Everyone thinks we are a wide open attack, but if we have to run the ball, then we run the ball. We take what people give us and we adapt to what we see, so whatever the defense dictates is what we are going to be. I know that's why we had a lot of the success last year towards the end of the season. These first couple of games we'll have a couple different styles of defense, so we have to be ready to play.”
WKUInsider: How excited are the coaches to get started with fall camp on Wednesday?
Tyson Helton: “I can not wait. The guys have been practicing all summer. We gave them a couple days off before getting started on Wednesday. I don't think there will be much need for motivational talks, they are ready to go.”