Western Michigan continues to be SO frustrating.
The talent is there, but the consistent big seasons and wins aren’t. That’s a common theme in the MAC West, like with Toledo, but it just doesn’t make any sense.
The Broncos went 13-1 under PJ Fleck in 2016 and have been solid ever since – the program hasn’t had a losing season since 2013 – but last year’s team was No. 1 in the MAC in total defense, No. 2 in total offense, the running game was great, the skill guys were fantastic, the pass rush was among the best in the country, and the O line put up a phenomenal season, and …
Nope. Four MAC losses in a six game stretch killed the fun.
Beating Pitt was nice, and rolling a Nevada team without a slew of key parts was a good way to finish, but this needs to be a MAC Championship powerhouse, and that’s going to be tough this season.
Enough talent returns to be in the mix, but the schedule isn’t any easier, a slew of stars are gone, and it’s going to be hard to improve too much.
It’ll be a bowl season and another winning campaign, but Western Michigan is overdue to surprise on the positive side.
Western Michigan Broncos Preview
Head Coach: Tim Lester, 32-25, 6th year at WMU
2021 Preview: Overall: 8-5, Conference: 4-4
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
Western Michigan Top 10 Players | WMU Schedule
Western Michigan Broncos Preview 2022: Offense
The offense was terrific, but there’s some reworking to do. The Broncos finished 12th in the nation in total offense and averaged 32.5 points per game thanks to a strong rushing offense and good balance. It’s all going to start with …
The offensive line has to be back to form. It was one of the strongest in the MAC last season doing a great job at keeping teams out of the backfield with the high sack total mostly coming from then-QB Kaleb Eleby trying to make things happening.
Three starters have to be replaced, but getting Eleasah Anderson from Sam Houston State – and Baylor before that – to fit in at left tackle is a plus. Jake Gideon is a good one in the interior – he’ll likely work at center – and there’s more reshuffling from there.
The rushing combination of Sean Tyler and La’Darius Jefferson is fantastic. These two combined for close to 2,000 yards with 19 touchdowns with the speed of Tyler and power of Jefferson working in a good rotation.
It’s going to be so, so hard to replace Eleby. He was an ultra-efficient playmaker who didn’t make a lot of mistakes and did a great job of pushing the ball down the field.
Now it’s a fight for the job with backup Jack Salopek a smallish passer with good accuracy and Mareyohn Hrabowski a big, tough option who can do a little of everything. Also entering the mix is Stone Hollenbach transferring from Alabama.
Skyy Moore was unstoppable with 96 catches for 1,293 yards and ten scores, but now he’s off in the Kansas City Chief attack. Third leading target Jaylen Hall is at WKU and top tight end Anthony Torres is off to Toledo. However, Corey Crooms is back after averaging over 17 yards per catch with 44 catches and six scores.
Western Michigan Broncos Preview 2022: Defense
The defense was among the best in the nation at generating sacks, it was second in the nation in third down stops, and it finished first in the MAC in total defense allowing just 330 yards and 28 points per game.
Seven starters are back, but some of the star power is gone. The big problem is replacing …
Ali Fayad. He was the main man who got into the backfield, and Ralph Holley is done from the interior. Trying to help at tackle is Purdue transfer Bryce Austin, and Braden Fiske is a good playmaker on the nose. Andre Carter and Marshawn Kneeland aren’t Fayad, but they can get behind the line.
The linebacking corps is the team’s second biggest strength after running back. The top three tacklers are back with Corvin Moment, Zaire Barnes, and Ryan Selig all active tacklers with all-star potential.
The secondary has to pick off more passes, but it can tackle and it should be able to hold up just fine. Dorian Jackson broke up 12 passes and led the team with two picks, and in comes Anthony Romphf from Purdue to work at the other corner.
Delano Ware is a good veteran who made 40 stops and veteran Bricen Garner is back as a longtime part of the mix after finishing third on the team in tackles in 2020 before missing time last year.