Going into the offseason the Central Michigan Chippewas looked to have options at quarterback with Cody Kater and Cooper Rush both hotly contesting for the position. Kater, returning for his senior year, had his season end at the Big House in the first quarter of the 2013 season opener. But despite a clean bill of health, it appears Kater will need more than a solid fall camp to earn back the starting job he lost due to a broken collarbone. Head coach Dan Enos confirmed Rush would be starting when he spoke at the MAC Media Day at Detroit's Ford Field last Wednesday.
Playing in every game but the season opener, the freshman Rush managed a 6-5 record, throwing for 2,349 total yards, 15 touchdowns, 15 interceptions and and completing 177 of 312 passes. While he did have some bright spots last year, such as squeaking out a win in a hostile Athens environment against Ohio while throwing for 224 yards and three touchdowns, he was often inconsistent and dropped close games. Under throwing and overthrowing receivers, miscommunication and inexperience haunted last season.
Two interceptions both at UNLV, and at home against Toledo, could've given Central Michigan crucial momentum to play the likes of eventual East and West division champions, Bowling Green and Northern Illinois, but sealed the 6-6 record instead.
Enos, in an interview with Central Michigan Life, reasoned that he's going with the sophomore because, "Rush had done a lot this summer to bulk himself up. Some of that is to prevent injury. We really like his work ethic."
Now, while bulking up to prevent injury is all fine and dandy, the receiving corps and the quarterbacks NEED to be on the same page this season. Central Michigan was ranked 87th last season in passing yards, per ESPN. This is where experience comes in. Overthrowing a wide receiver by 10 yards, straight into the hands of other team will never put butts in the seats at Kelly-Shorts, or anywhere for that matter. Neither will under throwing swing passes.
This year will take much more than preventing injuries. It will take commitment to the team, commitment to the playbook, and a commitment for Rush to better his abilities as a leader. I'm glad to hear coach Enos is having faith in this young man, because after years of Ryan Radcliff and longing for the second coming of Dan LeFevour, the patience of this college town is wearing thin. Fast.