Week two is upon us, and with that, a chance for the Michigan Wolverines to bounce back against an in-state foe, Western Michigan.
With the Broncos losing PJ Fleck — who left to become the new head coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers in 2017, current head man Tim Lester has had the tough task of following up Fleck’s extraordinary production over in Kalamazoo.
That being said, I sat down with Spencer Roberts of HustleBelt.com and we touched on the unenviable position Lester is in, and more.
Josh LaFond: Western Michigan put 42 points on Syracuse in their opening game. Can the Broncos be that effective on offense — or close to it, against Michigan?
Spencer Roberts: Putting up serious points is not really unusual for the Broncos. We have a talented offense that’s already close to hitting their stride. That being said, I don’t see the Broncos hanging 42 points on Michigan. I do expect some serious yardage, especially through the air.
Josh: What is the confidence level in head coach Tim Lester righting the ship?
Spencer: I think confidence is still high in Tim Lester being the man for the job. So I’d say the confidence level is probably about a 7 out of 10. Lester has the confidence to keep building WMU and keep the Broncos winning, the reason it’s not a 10 is that he has made some crucial coaching errors and has lost some very winnable games. I think he will do better than 6-6 this year, but I wouldn’t expect a perfect season any time soon like we were privy to under PJ Fleck
Josh: What is the Bronco’s biggest weakness — from a team perspective?
Spencer: Overall, the passing defense needs serious work. Syracuse ate up the Bronco secondary and easily exploited one-on-one coverage. For Western Michigan to remain competitive, we have to have a respectable secondary. Based on last week’s performance, I have confidence in our run defense and pass rushing.
Josh: For Bronco fans to leave Ann Arbor “happy”, what needs to happen?
Spencer: I don’t think the Bronco faithful traveling in from Kalamazoo will be happy with anything less than a win. More realistically, I think keeping the game within two scores would keep our chins up. I would be happy with remaining a serious contender in the game for at least three quarters.
Josh: Let’s mix it up with some less serious serious stuff now, my friend.
I want you to pick one Wolverine to add to this year’s WMU squad that would deliver a MAC title.
Spencer: Ooh, that would be fun. My instinct would be to take a star player like QB Shea Patterson, but I’d really like a decent defensive back. I’d take Tyree Kinnel and cruise to the MAC Championship.
Josh: What’re some cool Western Michigan football traditions or fun facts?
Spencer: I’ve always been a band geek, so my favorite tradition will always be the march into the stadium. I don’t believe they will be attending the game unfortunately.
As for fun facts about WMU, there are a few. The totally haunted Kalamazoo Regional Psychiatric Hospital is located on campus. It’s about 160 years old and still (kinda) operating. Tim Allen got busted for cocaine possession nearby at the Kalamazoo/Battle Creek airport. And the first sighting of Elvis after his alleged death was at a former Burger King on campus.
Josh: Shoot, I thought Elvis was alive in Cuba with Tupac and Biggie Smalls, guess not!
Before we call it a day, Spencer, give us a score and game prediction please.
Spencer: Don’t hate me, Bronco fans, but I don’t see this as a pretty game. The Wolverines will be out for blood and our defense is shaky.
Michigan 52, WMU 31.
Spencer Roberts is a great interview and writer over at Hustle Belt and was a pleasure to work with yet again, so special thanks to him and the staff over there. To check out our pre-season Q&A click HERE. For more info about the Broncos heading into the game head on over to HustleBelt.com.