Following a lopsided loss it is easy to hang your head in defeat. Not for the Western Michigan football team though. The focus is already on the upcoming games and specifically the next game, at Ohio on September 27.
"We need to make sure every time we step on the field we are the better team," said Chad Munson. "We need to take care of situations put in front of us."
One area the Broncos need to address is identifying a core group of 60 players to make up the travel squad. Per MAC rules teams may only travel to conference games with a 60-player travel squad. "We have to really identify what's the core group," said head coach Gary Darnell, "we'll be down to a core 60 and it could be fewer then that."
Some young players that have stepped up already include Greg Jennings, Tyson Devree, and Derae Allen. Darnell did tell media following Saturday's game that some players may be overrated and find themselves off the travel squad while others will step up in practice and make their presence felt.
There will be a lot of hard work this week in practice. With no game this Saturday the team doesn't need to be rested for a game, and fundamentals will be worked hard.
Tackling was one area of concern against both Virginia and William & Mary. The Broncos failed to bring down players several times in the backfield, and that will be addressed this week in practice according to Darnell.
"We're trying to improve as a team," said senior defensive end Jason Babin, who had Virginia quarterback Marques Hagans in his grips twice for a sack but was unable to bring him down either time. "They have a couple formations where you know what play they are going to run. I read bootleg both times and I just didn't bring him down."
The offensive line does continue to improve as the season rolls on. The Broncos have given up 12 sacks on the season so far, but only 3 of those were given up to the talented defense of Virginia. Chad Munson, Blayne Baggett, and Jon Drach all benefited from an improved offensive line and time to set up passing plays.
Darnell's squad was more disciplined this weekend too. The Broncos only took 2 penalties all game, however, one negated a kick-off return for a touchdown by Tyrone Walker. The average penalties per game dropped from 9 to 6.67 after the Virginia game, and a declining average is an obvious goal for the rest of the season.
The Broncos do have their share of bright spots. Adam Anderson has been punting extremely well this fall including a personal best 72-yarder against Virginia. Kendrick Mosley has extended his receptions streak to 33 games and has eclipsed the 100-career receptions mark. Greg Jennings has 5 touchdown catches and 294 receiving yards on the season.
Quarterback Chad Munson has lead the Broncos to the #2 spot nationally in passing offense and 18th nationally in total offense. This is on the heals of 408 yards of total offense against Virginia and 317 of those yards passing.
The Broncos next home action is October 11 against Bowling Green State University. The game is part of a homecoming weekend that includes home hockey against Ferris State (Oct. 10), and home volleyball against Eastern Michigan (Oct. 10) and Miami of Ohio (Oct. 11). Tickets for all these events are available from the WMU ticket office at 1-888-4-WMU-TIX or at www.wmubroncos.com.
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