With six games remaining this season, the Warriors are 1–4 and have not beat a GLIAC team. Matt Williams, The South End's sports editor, gives his take on the team's performance thus far.
Midseason grades for the Warriors’ offense and special teams:
Offense overall: C-
Running back: C+
Wide receiver: C
Offensive line: B-.
Special teams: D
The offense is scoring 20 points per game, a noteworthy accomplishment considering it took head coach Paul Winters two games into the season to find a starting quarterback, when he named redshirt sophomore Jake AmRhein the first-stringer.
However, the squad has committed their fair share of mistakes this season. The Warriors have only scored nine touchdowns in 20 red zone trips due to turnovers or being stopped short of the end zone, forcing a field goal attempt.
Falling behind early in games is another issue contributing to WSU’s poor record, as mentioned by Winters last week. Opposing teams have outscored WSU 31–10 in the first quarter, which forces WSU to stray from its major strength: running the football.
And it doesn’t help that wide receiver Corey Ester, a graduate student, and senior running back Deiontae Nicholas have missed playing time with injuries.
Defense overall: C-
Defensive line: C-
WSU’s defense has struggled with stopping opposing teams on third-down, and that is a big concern.
Moreover, when WSU’s opponents reach the red zone, they almost always score. Opposing teams have scored 15 times in the 16 occasions that they reached the red zone.
Hopefully the return of redshirt senior Derrick Coleman and redshirt junior Jalen Lewis, who have battled injuries recently, will give the defensive line a boost.
What to watch for as the season progresses:
It’s become apparent that the Warriors may not be built to move the ball quickly down the field or come back from big deficits. Keeping games close and being able to run the ball more in order to take pressure off of AmRhein could ease his transition into his role.
On defense, the front seven will need to carry the unit, as the secondary hasn’t been able to post big plays, intercepting just two passes this season. The return of Coleman and Lewis should help the defensive line, as they look to consistently place pressure on quarterbacks.
The Warriors return to action Oct. 6 at 6 p.m. vs. Davenport University at Tom Adams Field. The game will be broadcasted on Comcast channel 900, 101.5 FM and 1400 AM WDTK.