KALAMAZOO — "I guess they quit serving the New York Strips when you are 0-5," quipped Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck as he nashed on the Italian sausage dish served up for lunch during Tuesday's press luncheon. The coach was trying his best to portray an optimistic outlook on things despite zero wins in five attempts.
"There is no one more impatient than I when it comes to getting this thing turned around," Fleck said. "But this is a process, and despite our record and our critics, I still feel good about our program and particularly our kids that just won't quit. There is a good light at the end of our tunnel."
Fleck pointed to three specific plays on offense that cost the Broncos in their 32-14 loss to Kent State. "We had two holding plays that either wiped out a big gain, or stopped a drive and then TVT's (WMU QB Tyler VanTubergon) interception stopped another drive. Had we scored on either of those drives I think the outcome may have been different."
The score may have been different, but the outcome was pretty well determined when Golden Flashes star Dri Archer returned to the lineup. The Golden Flashes had their version of 'Thunder and Lightening' back in the lineup and the Flashes pounded the Broncos inside with running back Trayion Durham accounting for 10 of KSU's 26 first downs as he ran for 154 yards on 26 carries.
"We just are not good enough to overcome those types of mistakes," Fleck said careful to avoid excuse making. "We have new kids playing for the first time at this level and in many cases we just don't have the chemistry. There is a lack of consistency in our execution.
"We have to coach better," said Fleck. "We have to hold these student athletes accountable, but remember that many of them were playing on Friday nights last year."
Toledo, Buffalo and Ball State are the next three foes for the Broncos, so expect the seas to get rougher before they have a good chance of calming.
Well let's just hope that Fleck's enthusiasm outruns the difficult start to this season so his vision for the program and the groundwork he has laid has a chance to succeed .