Energy, Confidence high at WKU

After spending a few hours chatting with players at Saturday mornings media day, coupled by watching them practice later in the afternoon, one thing is clear - this is an energized and confident WKU football squad.

There are a number of storylines one could take following the annual Media Day at Western Kentucky.

A few that we'll get to during the coming days will include how the players feel blessed to be contributing to the Hilltopper program during its current rise and how the team has noticed, and is rather appreciative, of the excitement that the statewide WKU fanbase has for the upcoming season. We'll have player features and take a look at the depth charts on both sides of the ball. Of course, we'll eventually get to our season prognostications.

With so many personalities and team aspirations to share during the coming weeks, I'm certain that nearly all preseason articles - here and elsewhere - will be touched upon as the season opener against Vanderbilt draws near.

My experience at media day, along with watching the Hilltoppers practice on Saturday afternoon, would be headlined by the confidence and energy displayed by head coach Jeff Brohm's second WKU squad.

WKU is no longer an unknown in Conference USA and is now a preseason favorite in just the second year in the league. Entering the season with a bit of a bullseye on its back, the Hilltoppers face a challenging non-conference schedule, which includes road trips to Vanderbilt, Indiana and LSU, plus the two favorites from the C-USA West Division.

"I think this is exactly where we want to be," said Brohm. "We want some pressure on us to succeed and win at a high level. I think this program needs to continue to move forward and take that next step. I think with this schedule and the challenges ahead of us we have to play at a high level to win, so we are looking forward to that."

As the team continued with fall camp on Saturday, they did so with an energy that one would expect from a team with high aspirations. Each side of the ball continually pushes each other to improve. The offense is making plays and the "bigger, stronger and more prepared" defense is with playing with purpose and determination.

"They are playing with more confidence in practice," Brohm said of his defense. "I think we'll have a very good year defensively, so I'm looking forward to watching those guys in that manner."

Brohm was a frequent guest on the defensive side of the ball during Saturday's work and was tossing out compliments as solid player effort was coming from all areas.

The Hilltoppers will practice at Houchens-Smith Stadium Sunday and Monday before taking one day break from the field. For a complete schdule, visit the Smith Stadium Forum.

WKU kicks off the 2015 season at Vanderbilt on Thursday, September 3. The Hilltoppers home opener is Thursday, September 10 against C-USA West Division favorite Louisiana Tech.

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