After opening the 2017 season with two road games against Power 5 opponents, the Western Michigan Broncos return to Waldo Stadium to face FCS opponent Idaho. Last week’s loss was a disappointment for many Bronco fans (including myself) who thought WMU could come out of East Lansing with a 1-1 record. The game left a lot to be desired, so here’s what I’m looking for out of the team on Saturday.
Run Game Consistency
In Week 1, WMU ran for 263 yards against USC. Last week, they gained 116 yards on the ground. This is in part due to the MSU defense, but I’d like to see the offensive line control the line of scrimmage more like Week 1.
I’d also like to see all three running backs share carries equally. Jarvion Franklin had six carries last week compared to Levante Bellamy’s 12 and Jamauri Bogan’s 11. I know it depends on the other team, practice performance, the hot hand, etc. but there’s no reason to not use all of them equally in my opinion.
Jon Wassink’s Coming Out Party
Bronco fans have been spoiled with Zach Terrell and the receiving corps weapons he had in recent history. This year, we have a new offense, a brand new starting quarterback, and newer receivers. This has all shown in the first two games. It seems like everyone is still getting to know each other and it just takes time to develop these things.
Still, I expect Jon to have a big game against Idaho. I think he looked good against MSU. He did throw a pick, but he had good zip on the ball and if he and the receivers were able to connect on a couple more throws, it could’ve been a different outcome. I especially liked the way he moved the offense in the fourth quarter, converting on three fourth down conversions.
I’d like Coach Johns to let Jon throw the ball in as many different situations as possible. Give him full command of the offense and just let him go. With two more games before the conference season starts, Jon’s gotta have as much confidence and handle on things as possible. I think he’s got it; what we’ve seen so far is because the defenses of USC and MSU have dictated a lot of what WMU has done on offense.
I still believe this is a very good team. I want them to show us that in the next two weeks by putting it all together. Run the ball well and pass effectively. Keep getting takeaways on the defensive side and pressure the quarterback. Special teams, well, we don’t even have to talk about that. If WMU can come together and put in a full shift against Idaho, it will be a good confidence boost (if for no one else but the fans) and will keep the team moving forward.
P.S. I’m interested to see what the crowd is like at Waldo. I’m hoping to see the stands full of fans and students to help the Broncos get that first win.