By Alan Gerould, Senior Writer, BroncoBlitz
Bronco fans everywhere ought to be grateful for a 38-29 home opening victory over a tough Idaho team and congratulate head coach Tim Lester and his staff on their first win in the Lester era. Coach Lester was the first to admit that the win was marred by numerous mistakes on both sides of the ball that led to a Vandals lead of 28-19 heading into the fourth quarter.
There were any number of the 25,732 in attendance that were ready to write off this team, for at least this game, after the Vandals had gone up by two scores with 1:03 left in the third quarter on a 39-yard Matt Linehan touchdown strike. By the end of the third quarter, Idaho had gained nearly twice as many yards, 403 to 205, on two fewer plays. To the Broncos credit, they never gave up or stopped believing and eventually found a way in the most unlikely of fashion as redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink ran for two fourth quarter scores, Gio Ricci converted a two-point conversion and freshman Josh Grant converted his third field goal of the game to send those that remained home relieved as much as happy.
Before the game I talked as briefly as possible with a few of the Bronco "fans" who have a lot of questions and most of the answers. Their intelligence on such things is based on a few hours in a chat room, a few more hours at the Monday morning quarterback club, and years staring at a glass that is half empty. They are paid nada for their opinions on why this Western Michigan football team has struggled mightily out of this year's gate. I have decided early on that I am going to hook my fandom trailer on to the Lester train.
The University and donors are paying him a lot of dough to know his own team and study his opponents to formulate a plan to put this team in a position to be successful, but let's not forget, these are still 18 to 22, in one case 30, year old young men that do make mistakes. In their youth, nay in their humaness, they drop balls, under and overthrow passes, miss tackles and draw holding penalties. Sometimes they find themselves competing against athletes that are just a bit stronger and faster than them, but they are our young men and we can not ever question their effort. Remember that the guys wearing the other shirts are on scholarship and have pride too.
No one is going to lay down and let us run over them. In my opinion, we need to trust that the coaches know what's best for our team. They are recruiting young student athletes that fit our system, both scheme and values. This is still, and will be a "work in process." The coaches are still getting to know each other and they are learning a lot about our players, many of whom have just finished their second week of college classes.
There are bound to be high expectations. That's what happens when the team goes undefeated during the previous year's regular season, I get that. But let's not forget that this is a different team with a different coaching staff, with a different Buster for gosh sakes; So let's give them a little bit longer leash. That being said, up next is Wagner and we really should not struggle with them the way we did with Idaho, who speaking of last year, was 9-4 with a win over Colorado State in the Tater Bowl. This team will be fine. I know that because Tim Lester told me so and I believe him. Let's Ride.