Cubit emphasizing physical football this spring at Western Michigan

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Western Michigan offensive line coach AJ Ricker understands the Broncos have to improve their run game efficiency in 2011.

Ricker, who coached the offensive line at St. Joseph’s College (IN) the last two years, joined Bill Cubit’s staff this off-season.

Over the last four years, Western Michigan hasn’t been able to consistently run the football.

Beginning last season, the Broncos finished 93rd nationally (125 ypg), 100th (112 ypg), 96th (116 ypg), and 86th (130 ypg).

Ricker told the Kalamazoo Gazette,“Our biggest thing coming into this spring is being more physical and tough, and I think we’ve had a real physical spring. My philosophy’s maybe a little different in years past. I want to re-create the line of scrimmage, move guys and it’s not an overnight success."

New wide receivers coach Josh Gattis is also emphasizing explosive downfield blocks. Gattis joined Cubit's staff after serving as the offensive grad assistant at North Carolina.

Gattis wants his players to have a swagger. He told the Kalamazoo Gazette, “I think there’s something to be said about the receiver position obviously being divas. I think that’s an attitude that comes with that position. The younger guys now call it having that swag. I think that you’ve got to have it as a receiver. But the other aspect, coming from the other side, is you’ve got to play with an attitude and in our room, we talk about dominating every play, we talk about playing with an attitude to where we put fear into the opponent every time we line up out there.”

Western Michigan opens at Michigan. The next four games are against Nicholls State, Central Michigan, at Illinois, and at UCONN.