Somebody finally took defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan’s joystick away from him and the Bucs have gone more with straight rushes instead of blitzes and stunts. This has unleashed the beast that is Gerald McCoy and everyone on defense has benefited from that.
The fact that McCoy had to go to the coaches and ask them to change the game plan again after he had to do it last year doesn’t inspire much confidence in their coaching abilities, however.
The emergence of rookie tight end Tim Wright. The first game of the season Tom Crabtree was out hurt and Wright still didn’t play a snap, I don’t believe. This was after all offseason the Bucs’ coaches and front office told fans over and over that they didn’t need a pass catching tight end in offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan’s offense. Now not only is Wright a big part of the Bucs’ passing game, he is also a weapon that can beat just about any linebacker one-on-one.
Most safeties don’t fare much better either. His numbers might not look all that impressive right now, but just the threat he poses with his speed up the seam forces opposing defenses to scheme for him, which helps to open up other parts of the passing game as well as the running game.
Still, Lester has quite a bit of experience and inherits exciting pieces from Fleck. The passing game will regress, but the run game might be strong enough to lean on. The run defense might get gashed, but the pass defense could be excellent.
WMU isn’t projected as the best team in the MAC — those honors go to perpetual bridesmaid Toledo — but the Broncos are still No. 2. They’ll probably win seven or eight games and bowl for the fourth year in a row. After season-opening road trips to USC and Michigan State, they could be favored in each of the next nine games.
It’s hard to move on from one of the country’s most unique coaches. But in Lester, WMU landed someone who is uniquely experienced and extremely Western Michigan.