WKU opens fall camp with ‘stiff’ competition on offense

Competition in WKU offense
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 10:34 PM CDT
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BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Nothing is guaranteed for WKU football’s offense entering 2022.

“Not a lot of positions [on offense] don’t have competition. That’s good,” WKU football head coach Tyson Helton said during WKU media day.

This season won’t be a complete revamp for the Tops’ offense. They bring back marquee stars from last season, but they’ve also lost considerable talent, most notably quarterback the quarterback-wide receiver duo of Bailey Zappe and Jerreth Sterns, respectively.

Quarterback is the position with the most microscopic attention on offense. West Virginia graduate transfer Jarret Doege has been hinted as the frontrunner by Coach Helton. However, Doege still has to battle Division II national championship-winning West Florida transfer Austin Reed.

“I like where we are at QB. We’ll figure it out by week one,” Helton said.

Doege, a Lubbock, Texas native, is in his fifth-quarterback battle at his third school. That’s why he says he has “no doubt” he will be named the starter.

“Any QB battle is about earning the respect of your teammates and coaches. In my head, I walk on the field thinking that I’m the starter,” Doege said. “Our strength coach hasn’t seen this much competition in a while.”

The strength of the competition has trickled down to the wide receiver position. Seven to eight different wideouts are battling for four different starting roles, especially Sterns’ main slot position.

WKU brings back a mix of returning cast members and new faces. Sophomore Malachi Corley and redshirt junior Dalvin Smith are the biggest headliners returning to wide receiver for WKU.

“We have speed, size and people who can jump,” Corley said.

Helton and co-offfensive coordinator Ben Arbuckle have both indicated most offensive line positions are “secured” - with some notable exception. But even special teams spots are up for grabs according to Helton, as preseason honoree-kicker Brayden Narveson and Cory Munson will duel for the starting kicker spot this season.

“The pressure is, scoring enough points to win. It’s up to them to determine who’s going to be out there.,” Arbuckle said.

As soon as the clock strikes zero on Week Zero against Austin Peay on August 27 in the Tops’ season opener at home, Corley says that that’s when the 2022 season becomes more than just an “encore.”

“This season will be really special. We’ll have a high-powered offense that will do the same things again.”

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