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July 10, 2011Sign-up for InsideHilltopperSports.com Wireless Text Alerts sent right to your cell phone!
New WKU Offensive Coordinator Zach Azzanni expressed this past Spring that he was very excited to be in Bowling Green as the Hilltoppers new offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach. He'd spent last season as a member of the Florida Gators coaching staff after being hired by Urban Meyer in December of 2009.
"I'm just excited to be here", Azzanni said. "I believe we have everything it takes to be successful here: facilities, athletes, and coaches who are committed to turn this thing around."
Prior to Arriving in Gainesville, Azzanni served as the wide receivers coach as well as the assistant head coach at Central Michigan University. His CMU teams compiled a three year record of 28-13 including three consecutive Bowl appearances. He was also a member of the Florida coaching staff for the BCS All State Sugar Bowl when the Tim Tebow led Gators defeated Cincinnati 51-24.
One of the first things Azzanni would like to put a stamp on is his receiving corps. If the Toppers expect to make the leap that they are expecting, a lot will depend on the emergence of those young receivers.
"I believe we made great strides during the spring," Azzanni said. "We still have a long way to go. We're still a work in progress."
One of the receivers he is expected to step is Junior Marcus Vasquez.
"I expect Marcus to step up for us going into his last two years," Azzanni said. "He's going to be our leader because he is the only one with experience. The next batch of receivers, guys such as Joel German and Rico Brown need to step up and take some spots as well."
Along with Coach Willie Taggart and Nick Sheridan, Azzanni will look to continue the progress of the Toppers third year starting Quarterback Kawaun Jakes. This will be Jakes' second year in the West Coast offense as he operated out of the spread as a freshman.
"I think he is beginning to develop as a player and as a leader," Azzanni said. "He's taking the game a lot more serious and paying more attention to the details of the game."
Also back to see that the offense is clicking on all cylinders is one of the nation's top running backs, Bobby Rainey. The senior is closing in on 5,000 total career yards with 24 touchdowns. Although Azzanni will not have sophomore wide receiver Willie McNeal for 2011, he still has capable receivers along with tight end Jack Doyle to provide big play ability the passing game.
Azzanni brings his experience of three Bowl seasons at Central Michigan, a BCS All State Sugar Bowl win, another Outback Bowl win at Florida, 2 Bowl wins while Wide Receiver's Coach at Bowling Green, including one over Big Ten Opponent Northwestern. Add that to the record breaking players he has coached in Antonio Brown (CMU), Charles Sharon (Bowling Green), and now Rainey. The Hilltopper nation is extremely excited about the addition of Azzanni to the WKU family.