"The Rock" Talks Offense

Western Michigan has been stellar on defense in the first five games and the offense has shown flashes of promise. Offense Coordinator Brian Rock gives us the scoop on the offense from the top on down as well as what we can expect in year's to come as far as recruiting priorities and goals.

What is the source for the inconsistencies this season?
I don't know if there is anything you can totally put your finger on. I think we knew coming in we were going to be a work in progress. We are not a finished product right now. We have some exciting players that are continuing to work hard to get better and better and better. Yet we don't have a level of maturity from the guys that have been there. We've gotten Kendrick Mosely back the last couple of weeks and I think that's helped because he has been a regular starter as has Jermaine Lewis even though it was on the other side of the ball. On the offensive line Jake Gaseway and Kevin Kramer are the two regular starters we have back. We've got some guys that are really working hard to develop consistency and maturity and with experience will come the maturity which then will follow with consistency.

Talk about Jon Drach up until this point
We want to get to a point where we want to win a lot of football games and where our offense is clicking and are we do that point yet? I don't think so. We've played some pretty good people and did some good things at times against Michigan and Virginia Tech and those kinds of people. Is Jon where I want him to be? No, because I want our offense to be perfect and it's not going to be that way. Is he understanding what we are trying to get done? Yes very well. What we need to do a better job with him is execution. That is no different than what we need from Chad. When they get the ball in their hands they need to execute. The quarterback in our offense in incredibly important and they like the rest of our offense needs to continue to improve so that we can develop to where we want to be.

And Chad Munson?
He's getting there and getting better. He is like coaching a freshman, this is all new to him. He's come along very quickly and I'll give him a lot of credit. He'd been very diligent in trying to learn in. You have to remember he comes from an offense that was all shot-gun and throw it every snap and now were asking him to make hot reads and the plays he needs to get in to and get out of and that's not going to happen over night. You can see Chad get better every week and it is exciting to see his progress.

Talk about the play of the offensive line this season
I think it is a number of things there. We're going to do some things game plan wise that will enable us to do more things and take pressure off those guys. I think that is one thing. We do quality control every single week and we look to where our problems areas are. One of our problem areas right now is what we call run situation sacks. If you look at our sacks, they are not coming on third down, they are coming on first and second down so we need to see why that is happening and how we can fix it. People can always identify the problem, that is easy. We have to fix them and that is the hard part. We have to sit down as a coaching staff and as a unit and see what we need to do to fix that. I think is comes down to confidence as well and we need our guys to get to where they are confident that they are going to improve the protection back there.

Who has stood up in a leadership role on the offense this season?
I hear Jermaine out there a lot, he steps up. Jake Gaseway steps forward and leads the line. We're always talking about fighting for leadership and our big class is our junior class and there is nothing in the rulebook that says you cannot lead if you are not senior. There are certain guys that are natural leaders. Phil Reed in time will be a good leader, Antionio Thomas is a great leader but he just isn't a vocal guy. We're still developing a level of maturity we are trying to get to. When they are comfortable in their role as a payer then they feel more comfortable as a leader on the team. I'm starting to push that button a little harder because we are going into game six already.

Is the quarterback rotation working like you'd expected?
I think it is an advantage that the opponent has to prepare for two different guys and on the other hand a disadvantage is that you are looking for two different leaders. I've watched it happen both ways in a lot of different instances. I'm looking for someone to give me a reason for someone to tell me he is the guy. Jon does some good things and Chad does some good things but neither one plays the perfect game and they are not where we need them to be yet.

First time experiencing a rotation at quarterback?
In Division II football I rotated through game seven and one guy emerged a little more and was the guy until the end. Division II was a lot different than this is though!

What did you take out of the games against Michigan, Purdue and Virginia Tech?
I'm not sure how much it helped our confidence but those games were great teachers of lessons that it doesn't matter who we line up and play. We just have to execute out there and when the opportunities present themselves and you execute properly – you win. If you don't, you don't win. We didn't execute against those teams and we didn't get the win. It makes teaching that lesson a little easier. I have to believe we won't see a finer defense than what Virginia Tech had and what Michigan put out on a week to week basis. I think Purdue will end up being one of the top three defenses in the Big Ten.

Who have been the most pleasant surprises on offense?
Chris Chestnut is a guy that we weren't sure of and he has really stepped forward and done a very nice job. Anthony Kiner has done a really good job at tight end. He gives us a blocking end who can catch the ball. Gives us a wrinkle we haven't had in a while. Chad Wangerin has been injured but he is really starting to get there and the more we can develop a couple more offensive linemen the better off we are going to be. Antonio Thomas, I have been very pleasantly surprised with him because we moved him outside and he hasn't played there is a while. He had him in the H spot. Greg Jennings is another one that was doing some great things until he was hurt. We need more though, coaches are never satisfied. Are we are finished product? No, but we can get there.

Recruiting priorities for years ahead?
We look a couple years ahead and try to stay on track. We'll continue to develop the offensive line pool. We're going to have some really good ones there. We're going to continue to recruit big receivers that can run. That is really our niche in college football. Quartberback is the driving force in our offense so that is always a priority. Also large, athletic tight ends are always a priority for us. With the emergence of Anthony Kiner, I think we'll keep trying to have two different types of tight end so we can mix things up there.

Surprises or things to look for from the offense the remainder of the season?
We've got some things in store for the rest of this season, maybe even this week. I don't want to overload with their minds with fancy little things when we need to get good at eating meat and potatoes. We're going to move the pocket a little bit as both Jon and Chad have good mobility. We've got good players and good coaches and we're going to get where we want to be this year. When we have opportunities we have to finish.

Thoughts on UCF coming in for Homecoming?
Each team has their own personality. We're tough, hard nosed guys that keep our mouth shut and try to go out and do our job and that is our personality. That's not their personality. I'm not going to say there is a right way and wrong way but there is an "our way and their way" and that adds to the pageantry of college football. Homecoming, big game, conference game, it is huge. You don't want to make it a personal battle but there is a level of intensity and passion on the field and in the offices this week.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories