Western Michigan suffered a down year in 2017, finishing 6-6 (4-4 MAC) and getting left out of a bowl game a season removed from a miraculous Cotton Bowl berth under PJ Fleck.
It was bound to happen, with most of the team’s elite talent, including top-five NFL Draft pick Corey Davis, graduating or moving on, and a first-year head coach taking over the helm. But the 78th-ranked overall offense, one spot directly under rival Central Michigan, isn’t good enough for Lester, who will reportedly take over offensive playcalling duties, per Nick Buckley of the Battle Creek Enquirer.
The move comes on the heels of the departure of former offensive coordinator Kevin Johns, who left this offseason for the same position at Texas Tech. Lester promoted co-offensive coordinator Jake Moreland to John’s former position, but Moreland will be more of an advisor in his reported new role.
Lester described why he made the change and how it will work to the Enquirer:
Lester also said the offense would be a “conglomeration” of John’s playbook, along with newer concepts from himself, Moreland and running backs coach Terry Malone.
The Broncos offense will look to improve from last season without a few of its quality pieces, including the school’s all-time leading rusher in Jarvion Franklin, who along with Jamauri Bogan, led a rushing attack which ranked 21st in the country with 2,697 yards on 562 attempts for 26 touchdowns.
The issue will likely be the passing offense, which struggled with no real option emerging on the outside numbers until later in the season. In 2017, it ranked 114th in the country, with 1,978 yards on 172-of-294 attempts for 19 touchdowns and eight interceptions, averaging a measley 164.8 yards per game through the air.
As a former WMU quarterback, it’ll likely be a point of pride for Lester to try and put his imprint on the passing offense.
WMU opens the season on Sept. 1 vs. Syracuse at Waldo Stadium.