WKU football blog: EKU post game notes


Brooks’ big day

After being a player that Western Kentucky coach David Elson mentioned periodically throughout the spring and summer practice sessions, redshirt freshman wide receiver Derrius Brooks proved why on Saturday.

Brooks was all over the field, catching five passes for 43 yards and gaining 33 yards on the ground, including a 17-yard touchdown run that essentially clinched the game for the Hilltoppers.

Brooks said he knows that whenever he steps on the field he has one distinct advantage: speed.

“I got my chance this week – I redshirted last year, I’ve been a backup this year and I started today and felt like I could make plays,” Brooks said. “I have a big advantage over a lot of people: I’ve got speed. The coaches tell me to use my speed to my advantage and that’s what I did, just went out and tried to make plays.”

Elson said a player like Brooks gives the Hilltoppers several options on offense, and that utilizing his speed is something the coaching staff will look to build upon in the future.

“He’s a playmaker for us, he’s a speed guy and we’ve got some other guys too, but tonight was Derrius’ night,” Elson said. “He’s a guy that we need to make people defend, and that was the big thing there tonight.

“The one thing I get a little worried about is his size. He doesn’t have as much lead in his pencil as you might like, but he ran strong and he’s just going to keep getting better. He’s a good football player.”

Second half shutout:

After allowing Eastern Kentucky quarterback Allan Holland to essentially have his way in the first half –completing 18 of his first 22 passes – the Hilltopper defense finally started to crack him in the second.

By putting more pressure on Holland up front, the WKU defense forced him to complete just six of his last 19 throws, rendering him rather ineffective in the second half.

“We came out with a little more pressure, we came out hungry in the first half but came out even hungrier in the second,” said WKU senior linebacker Alonzo Higgins, who finished with 11 tackles for the second straight week. “We knew exactly what we had to do, the coaches came down to talk to us at halftime, but in our heads we knew exactly what we had to do in the second half to come out on top.

“They came out passing way more than what we thought, but we adjusted.”

Elson said the adjustments were relatively small, but were completely focused on limiting Holland’s chances to make plays.

“It was just a few key things, he was threading the needle and throwing some nice balls. He’s a good quarterback,” Elson said. “We started getting some pressure on him and just really started getting after him a little bit more up front and that was really the biggest thing right there.

“Ultimately it’s about how you finish in the second half, and I thought we played well there.”

Kicking rotation

The WKU kicking job seemed a little muddled midway through the first half on Saturday. After starting junior Zac Minturn missed an extra point early in the second, it was senior Tanner Siewert who came out to convert on a 48-yard field goal some five minutes later. 

Siewert was out again at the end of the half, attempting a 41-yarder that was blocked.

Elson said the decision to have Siewert kick from beyond 40 yards was a predetermined one and had nothing to do with Minturn’s missed PAT.

He simply stated that from 40 yards out, Siewert is the guy, and from 40 and in WKU will go with Minturn.

Sideline splash

Whether the moment was worthy or not, the WKU players decided to give Elson a Gatorade shower at the end of the game. 

It’s a move Elson has always kept mum about, looking almost upset whenever it happens.

“I told them seeing how this was the final chapter, I guess I can accept that they do it,” Elson said with a grin. “It’s just really cold, it’s not an experience that anyone really enjoys and all it really does it tell you that you won the game.

“We’ve got some guys that like to have a little fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that.”


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