WKU’s Bailey Zappe, the transfer QB who came to Bowling Green for a chance to showcase his talents at a higher level than FCS Houston Baptist, is now the sports single-season record holder for passing yards (5,967) and touchdown passes (62). Western’s season has been highly entertaining for lovers of offensive football. Of course, like any football accomplishment, it has not come alone. Zappe transferred to Bowling Green after his offensive coordinator at HBU Zach Kittley took the job under Tyson Helton, promising to “score 40 a game”.
Western did that, of course, averaging 43 points per game, winning the east division of the league, and coming within a hail-mary of tying UTSA in the title game. They scored 59 against a very good program in Appalachian State in the Boca Raton game and were able to put the program, staff and players included on showcase. Helton and Zappe of course used that spotlight to highlight the help needed by Kentucky-area victims of the tornado storm of the past weeks.
It is enough to make you wax poetic about the beauty of college football and sport.
Zappe was un-recruited out of Victoria, Tx but had a tremendous career at Houston Baptist. He took a shot at a larger stage to challenge both himself and to get an opportunity for the next level. He more than took complete advantage of the circumstance. That he was fortunate to have Jerreth and Josh Sterns, and Mitchell Tinsley, and Zach Kittley, and a healthy offensive line is not a knock, but an example of the benefit of building a great team around good talent. No one knocked Joe Burrow for throwing 60 TDs to NFL talent out wide. The lesson is simply that it is a team game, and it helps everyone if you have talent coaching, throwing, and catching and protecting.
For Tyson Helton, this was validation on the decision to get a little bit bold, and recruit a guy that had potential. It paid off in a huge way, and while he says that he wanted Kittley to have so much success that he would be hired away, everyone wants a little consistency in their program.
The good news is that having a reputation as a coach that is willing to hire a young coach and let them cook will in turn recruit the talent that wants to be coached by clever, up-and-coming coaches. Western Kentucky as the destination for under-recruited guys that have a chip on their shoulder? Well that worked out well enough this season. Why not again?