WKU football blog: Indiana recaps

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Passing improvement

After struggling to find anything positive in the first half on Saturday at Indiana, the Western Kentucky passing offense became a bright spot in the second half. Quarterback K.J. Black finished the day 19-for-31 for 219 yards, a touchdown and no interceptions.

Black said Monday that after watching the film, he and the wide receivers were encouraged.

“I feel like our passing game is maybe three times better right now than it was last year,” Black said. “I feel like guys are experienced. We had a lot of young guys from last year that played and are all back and it made a big difference on Saturday, with guys being on their marks and running their routes. It just felt a whole lot better.

“(The first half) had to do with some jitters, but it had more to do with focus and us being flat. You can’t do that, you’ve got to come out hyped up and ready to play.”

WKU coach David Elson said that there were ups and downs in the passing attack, but he did say he was pleased overall and thinks continued improvement will only help the slow-starting running attack.

“I think there were bright spots, there were some things that we did really well, but we’re trying to really impress on our guys that it’s not just the quarterback and receivers – it’s the whole body of 11,” Elson said. “It starts with the snap, and we had some snap issues. Then it goes to the quarterback and is he getting deep enough in a drop, are we running the routes properly, are the backs blocking.

“There’s so many pieces of it, and there were some really good things and there are things that are very correctable and if we correct them, then we’ll be where we want to be (with the passing game) by having good balance and being able to run the ball better and vice versa.”

Lewis aftershocks

Whether or not Kellen Lewis is the best overall quarterback WKU will see this season (Florida Atlantic’s Rusty Smith might have something to say about it), he’s almost certainly the most unique, most athletic and the fastest.

WKU will face a number of mobile quarterbacks – including one this week in Eastern Kentucky’s Allan Holland – Elson said playing against Lewis early provides several teaching points.

“I think it will help a lot, because we aren’t going to see a guy that’s faster – or at least I hope we don’t,” Elson said. “I think we’re going to be better against athletic quarterbacks, and you look for positives and one of the positives I saw was that in their base running game, our guys did a great job.

“Our front seven really controlled them more than they controlled us … so there were definitely some positives there in the zone-run sets, and if we play that way against maybe a guy who’s not as elusive, then I think we’ll be better against those types of quarterbacks.”

Prepping for Holland

Though he’s no Kellen Lewis, EKU starting quarterback Holland does present threats with both his arms and legs. The 6-foot-1, 245-pound Holland threw for nearly 2,000 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, while running for another 212 and four touchdowns.

“He played well as the year went on last year, led them to an OVC championship and had a heck of a year last year,” Elson said. “I think he’s an excellent quarterback, I remember him coming out of high school and remember being worried about him when he came into our game last year.

“He’s so big and athletic, he’s got a really strong arm and some experience, so we’re really going to have our hands full with him.”

Stamina situation

Elson said part of the reason WKU mounted some semblance of a comeback Saturday was its overall physical condition.

And with the weather likely to remain hot for at least a few more weeks, he said that building on that will be important.

“I feel like we’re in good physical shape, but you can always be in a little bit better shape,” Elson said. “Our guys felt fresh, but we’ve got to keep our tempo up during practice, continue to work and realize that we’ll get in better game shape as the year goes on by being in these situations.”

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