Western Kentucky coach Jeff Brohm, senior offensive lineman Cam Clemmons and junior defensive end Gavin Rocker were present at Wednesday’s Conference USA media day in Dallas. Quotes from all three here.
Picked fourth in the East Division: “I think that’s to be expected. New team in the league, not many people know a whole lot about us and it is a step up, so to speak, in competition. We have to come in and prove ourselves and earn respect.
“There are some teams who have been in this league for awhile that have played a high level. It’s going to be very competitive week-in and week-out and we have to find ways to win games.”
First year as head coach: “Experience is valuable, so when it comes to being a head coach, it is my first year doing that here. The fact that I’ve coached for a long time, played for a long time, coached and played for a lot of great players and coaches.
“Even the fact that I was here this past year with our team I think is a huge benefit. Now it’s just about going out and doing it and getting the first game under your belt.
“Without question I’m going to have to prove myself, just like everyone else and prove I can help our team get it done.”
Expectations for the start of fall camp: “We want to make sure we have a hungry team, a driven team that works hard and plays the together. We’ll put the team first and all go about our business every day to become the very best on a daily basis and then I think we can be a very good football team.
“It’s going to be a challenge. I think the first game is extremely tough – the first four games are extremely tough. We’re going to have to be ready Day One.”
Looking at BGSU yet? “We’ve taken the first four opponents and put a gameplan together and have a general idea of what we think we’re going to see. So the first part of camp we’ll focus on getting better and getting into the things we need to get into to be successful on both sides of the ball and special teams.
“As it gets closer then we’ll narrow it down again and re-gameplan and make sure we know exactly what we’re doing.”
The Middle Tennessee game: “I’ve been in rivalries where it’s been the first and the last. Whenever it is I think it’s a great opportunity for our players, coaches and fans to play against people that are close, that we’re familiar with, that we know. It’s important to try and find a way to win that.”
College Football Playoff: “I think it’ll be exciting. Any time you have the first time of something, I think it creates a lot of buzz, a lot of excitement. The fact that there’s going to be a playoff system that will help determine a true winner of the national championship, I think a lot of people will definitely look forward to that and they’ll be a huge following.
“The fact that there are five big bowl tie-ins and there is a slight chance for a team from our conference and some of the other conferences to get in that is always something that you shoot and strive for.”
Can a CUSA team can get to the CFB Playoff? “I think it’s going to be tough – but it has happened in the past with Northern Illinois and those teams that have found a way to get into a big bowl game.
“You’re going to have to run the table or be pretty close to it. You’re going to, not only win your conference games, but have a good nonconference schedule and have some upsets. I think if you do that you definitely prove you can do that at a high level.”
Recruiting: “I felt like we had a good recruiting class last year, we got a chance to get with them a little bit this summer and we feel good about it. We had a definite strategy going into this recruiting season with how to get the best players out there and so far we feel really good about where we’re at and, obviously, we’re continuing to build upon that and get guys from all over.
“Without question we’re going to evaluate closely guys within a two-to-three hour radius, whether it’s in Kentucky, in Tennessee, if it slides up to Ohio, to make sure with all our connections we don’t bypass someone that we think can play.”
Excitement for CUSA: “Any time you’re going into a season, there’s already an amount of excitement. Then going to a whole new league, Conference USA, it’s awesome.
“The thing that’s most-exciting to me is having the opportunity for a conference championship game. Just having the chance and you control your own destiny. That’s an awesome thing.”
Team’s goal this season: “Every team is here is going to say their goal is to have the chance to compete for a championship. So everyday we’re just taking things one day at a time, going along with the process and doing what we got to do to give ourselves a chance to be a champion.”
Picked fourth: “If a team needs extra motivation like that, they’re not ready to play. We don’t really pay a lot of attention to things like that. Just doing things how they’re supposed to be done and everything else will take care of itself.”
Game you’re most looking forward to: “Right now it’s Game One. Bowling Green, they’re a big-time football team. They’re really good. After that it’ll be Illinois and so forth and so forth. Just one game at a time.”
Date of the MTSU game matter: “It really doesn’t matter. It’ll be good to have some recent film on them and all that stuff, but it’s just very exciting to be to play them once again. I know it’s really good for the fans. It’s awesome, especially in basketball, being in Diddle when we play Middle is a special deal.”
Jeff Brohm: “He’s going to be a superstar, I promise you. He’s prepared. Being under coach (Bobby) Petrino, he learned how to run things and I can already tell coach Brohm knows what he’s doing and we trust him 100 percent. He’s going to lead us.”
The defense: “I feel like we’ll be fine with the guys that we have. The people that are back from last year, they’ll pretty good and they showed themselves in the spring and that gave us confidence that we can be competitive and be good this year.”
Picked fourth: “It’s a preseason thing. I understand it’s a new conference and they’re not familiar with us, so we’re not going to look into that or worry about that. What we care about is how the standings are going to look at the end of the season.”
Game you’re most looking forward to: “Just looking at Game One. We don’t want to look ahead, that’s how you end up losing. We want to stay focused on the task at hand.”
Sense there are more doubters out there this year? “If anything I would say we have more support. We’re coming off the best record that we’ve had at the (FBS) level. I feel like fans are excited and we should be gaining more.”