Quarterback Brandon Doughty has thrived at Western Kentucky under both Bobby Petrino and Jeff Brohm. He has thrown for almost 7,700 yards and 63 touchdowns over the last two seasons in Bowling Green. In 2014, Brohm’s first as the Toppers head coach, Doughty led the nation with 4,830 yards passing and 49 touchdown passes. That was seven more TD strikes than Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota of Oregon. Doughty was granted a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA, after missing most of 2011 and 2012 with injuries. Western Kentucky kicks off the 2015 season on Thursday, September 3, at Vanderbilt on the SEC Network.
How impressed have you been with the fan support for Western Kentucky football here in Louisville?
It’s an exciting time. I really didn’t expect a lot of fans there last year and it was an unbelievable turnout. Our fans travel well, we’ve got a good fan base here in Louisville.
How much of a chance did you really think there was to get the 6th year?
I really didn’t even think about it. We kind of got approached about it halfway through the season. We kind of got it cleared around the end of the season. We kept it low key, to kind of focus on the game. It’s unbelievable to be able to get a sixth year and to be able to get more exposure, more time with my teammates. It’s just something that I’m not going to take for granted.
What goes through your mind when I say, Brandon Doughty, Heisman Trophy candidate?
It’s almost surreal. I dream about that. I play the NCAA video game all the time, try to win the Heisman myself. It’s really cool. It’s easy to put up numbers, put up stats, when you have a coach like coach Brohm. He does an unbelievable job of getting guys wide open. We have receivers that do a really good job in press coverage, in man coverage, and zone coverage.
What’s different about playing for Coach Petrino and playing for Coach Brohm?
There’s not much of a difference. They both expect a lot out of you. They’re going to make sure they get it out of you. Coach Petrino, I learned a lot from. I’ve been blessed to have three unbelievable coaches, with three greats systems. I worked with Coach Taggart at WKU, he brought that Stanford offense, that west coast, with all that terminology and verbiage. Then I got blessed that Coach Petrino came with his offensive mind and his down-the-field schemes. He turned us into a little bit more of the spread and now we’ve got Coach Brohm. He’s an absolute genius. He really does a great job of making my job easy.
How did your relationship change when he went from offensive coordinator to head coach?
He’s always been a players coach. Coach Brohm actually went to most of my high school games. He was recruiting me for F.A.U. and he left F.A.U. and I decommitted, and then he was my head coach in my senior year, and now in my second senior year.
What makes him a great coach?
It’s great to have a guy who has played the position and has really seen things and understands that everything doesn’t work out the way it’s planned out there. You’ve got to make plays and extend plays and make plays with your feet. It’s really good to have a coach that has played and has been in the fire, for sure.
What did the Marshall game, the Central Michigan game, do for your confidence?
It’s definitely a confidence boost. Coach did a good job of playing in a playoff system. The last five games, he kind of put a playoff system mentality coming in and it kind of put pressure on us to really compete and to think about, hey, we’re on a big stage. Let’s do this, let’s roll off some wins. We did that and I’m excited about what we’ve got coming back. We have 8 of 11 guys coming back on offense.
Who is your favorite wrestler?
I’m a John Cena guy. Only reason why is because he’s a big “Make a Wish” guy. He’s not a great wrestler, but out of the ring, he gives back to the community and he has a good heart. That’s what I’m about. I love doing that stuff. I’m a big wrestling fan, I’m proud of that.
Is that the way you get away from football?
Oh yeah, that’s my deal. Me and my brothers, it’s kind of our thing. That’s kind of how we bond. I have a 10 year-old brother and he really, truly thinks it’s real. I got the privilege of going to one in Nashville and there was like a “Doughty for Heisman” poster.
You get Vanderbilt in the opener, an SEC school, on national TV, is that a statement chance for the Toppers?
For sure. Vanderbilt is an unbelievable team. I don’t care what their record was last year. I don’t care how they performed last year. They are a really, really good team on defense. They’ve got talent, they’ve got athletes, they’ve got size. They are truly an SEC team and we’re going to have play almost perfectly to beat those guys. VT