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 third season as WKU defensive coordinator, Nick Holt has the task of improving a defense that ranked 120th in the nation last year. With an added year of experience and some additions to the roster, Holt is confident that the Toppers will make significant improvements in 2015.
WKUInsider: You return a lot from last season, but there are some newer faces that will have an opportunity this year.
Nick Holt: “That's good and bad. We have a lot of guys back from a defense that got better, but at times weren't very good. At times we were okay. We are a year older, we got some new guys and we are bigger and stronger, which is obviously important. I believe knowledge and talent-wise we are a ready older, so I think that's going to really pay off. We'll be a lot better as a football team because we'll better on defense. Last year we had a lot of growing pains. I think we'll be better defensively this year, and we better be because our schedule is tougher than last year.”
WKUInsider: You mention the schedule. It really seems beefed up this season.
Nick Holt: “When you look at it from top to bottom, we have two SEC teams (Vanderbilt, LSU), a really good offensive team Big 10 team in Indiana, a solid MAC team (Miami of Ohio) and then we play the best teams, other than ourselves, in Conference USA. Every game is going to be a battle and you better not leave the game.”
WKUInsider: Something a little different for the team this year is that you've been chosen as a preseason favorite to win the C-USA East Division.
Nick Holt: “That's right. We aren't going to sneak up on anybody. Everybody knows that we are really good on offense, so we need to step up on defense. We need to make plays. We'll get turnovers on defense and we'll make some big plays, because that's what our scheme accounts for. We just need to be more consistent and not let easy things happen for the other team. We need to get the ball back for the offense and let them do their thing. We'll get everybody's best shot.”
WKUInsider: Do you feel like the spotlight may becoming brighter at WKU?
Nick Holt: “No doubt. When you have a quarterback like ours, who is a legit guy, that's going to happen. He's that good. I know that we have a great scheme, but he's really, really good. Our receivers our really, really good. I believe that our receivers – there's three, four or five that could play anywhere in the country. We have a great running back, so on offense our skill is unbelievable. That's why we are getting the hype. Now we just need to become a total team, with defense and special teams.”
WKUInsider: Excited to open fall camp on Wednesday?
Nick Holt: “We're excited to able to work with them full time. They've been around all summer, but we are limited to how much time we get to spend with them. Now starting on Wednesday we have them and we can all get back to work to get ready for the opener.”