Football practice begins on Wednesday for Western Kentucky.
The Hilltoppers will begin preparations for the 2015 season with a 3:45 p.m. practice. The practices are open to the public through Aug. 15 and the complete schedule is on the message boards.
WKU Insider presents five things to watch in fall camp:
1. Is the defense improved? It has to get better. Right? The defense was ranked 120th last season and at least one national publication said just a defense that is "marginally" better and the Toppers could win 10 games. While WKU lost a lot of the guys at the top of list for total tackles last season there's a lot of talented youngsters. WKU coach Jeff Brohm insists the defense will get better this season and it shouldn't take long to see just how much better it will be.
2. Brandon Doughty numbers: The senior quarterback put up stupid numbers last season and is on several 'watch lists' heading into his senior year. Some might have been surprised when he came back this season, but he said he had plenty of things to work on. If you watch fall camp, you should be able to see in the first few days that he's better than a year ago. It's nothing major - a bunch of little things - but you will see a difference. He's so mature and he's one of the best QBs in the country.
3. Tight end position: In the Jeff Brohm offense, you can always mark it down the tight end will get a lot of work. It's always going to be that way for coach Brohm. The staff really likes senior Tyler Higbee and what he brings to the offense. He should end up being one of - it not the leader - in receptions for the Toppers. But there's a lot of inexperience behind him. It will be interesting to see what player steps up. There are five or six guys, including true freshman Nick True (who I really liked in high school).
4. Can Fant make the the transition? George Fant was one of my all-time favorite high school basketball players to watch but from the first day I saw him I always said he "should be a tight end." Well, now he is. Fant has the body and athleticism but this will be his first time in pads and the hitting and the heat - there's a lot more to football than just athleticism. I think he's going to be just fine but watch and see in the first week of camp how he adjusts.
5. Year two of Brohm-era It's year two for Jeff Brohm and his staff and while last season was a success there's still plenty of room to improve. Brohm isn't going to change what he likes to do, but expect a little tinkering with the offense to make sure that he will keep the opponent off balance. I'd say we'll see a few ever-so slight changes that make a difference.