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KALAMAZOO (WQLR) -- WMU Head Football Coach PJ Fleck couldn’t have made my job any easier this week. When asked what his headline would be if he was a beat writer following Western Michigan football at the weekly press conference, he replied with, “Excited for the next one.”
Despite the daunting task of turning the tide on a winless season while looking for believers in the community, one thing Coach Fleck has never lost is his excitement for the challenge of building a solid foundation for his team.
Fleck pointed to four Bronco turnovers to no Toledo turnovers making the difference in WMU’s 47-20 loss last Saturday marking their sixth straight loss this season. As he has in the previous weeks, Fleck was quick to pull the positives out the loss. He praised the continued success of placekicker Andrew Haldeman who was perfect Saturday on field goal tries. He’s 14-for-14 in 2013.
Another positive that emerged from the loss was the contributions of the tight ends. With continued questions about the status of running back Brian Fields, the tight ends have started bearing the load of the offense. Sophomore Eric Boyden led the charge with four receptions for 59 yards and his first career touchdown. Clark Mussman caught five passes for 62 yards.
Backup Quarterback Zach Terrell took over for the injured Tyler VanTubbergen, completing 10 of 13 passes for 184 yards and an interception.
The injury status of VanTubbergen continues to evolve throughout the week, but there is a possibility that Terrell could start on Saturday.
The final three drives of the fourth quarter all resulted in points for Western Michigan, something that Fleck said built confidence for the offense heading into preparations for Buffalo at home this Saturday.
Western Michigan suffered the first ever loss to Buffalo in 2012 after winning the previous five meetings. The Bulls feature a trio of wideouts that will challenge the Bronco secondary, a piece of the defense that Fleck points to as a strength for his team.
Defensively, Buffalo is led by senior linebacker Khalil Mack. Mack has registered 35 tackles this season, including 6.5 tackles for loss.
The winless season, the injuries and inexperience, all of the doubt surrounding Waldo Stadium. It all culminates in the challenge for a first time head coach. It’s a challenge that PJ Fleck has accepted wholeheartedly.
Western Michigan (0-6, 0-2 MAC) celebrates its 90th Homecoming on Saturday October 12th against Buffalo (3-2, 1-0 MAC). Listen to Robin Hook and John Creek starting at 1 pm on 96.5 FM WZOX .