There are a lot of questions still left to be answered this fall with the Central Michigan Chippewas offense, including who will be the quarterback come Week 1, and which running backs will see significant playing time. However, there is one position that presents the most interesting (and potentially most volatile) situation: the wide receiver corps.
This positional unit struggled last year, outside of titus Davis, especially due to the early struggles of Cooper Rush. But Rush matured, and so now the question has become this: who the heck is left?
Courtney Williams had a disappointing 2013 campaign, getting only one touchdown and 251 yards the entire season, and will attempt to bounce back from that. Andrew Flory, hero of the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl in 2012, had a solid season in 2013, finishing second in all receiving numbers behind Davis, but found himself in potential legal troubles in the off-season, placing him in the coach's doghouse (Coach Dan Enos did not even mention Flory by name at CMU Media Day). After that, the remaining receivers that have not graduated and have playing time have a grand total of 13 receptions.
This creates a depth chart that lists Davis, Williams, Anthony Rice, and Jesse Kroll at WR 1-4. Enos said during CMU's media day that all of them have had "very good camps" and have developed and matured over the course of camp. With Flory in the doghouse, and Jerry Harris having graduated, this puts a lot of pressure on three redshirt freshman: Mark Chapman, Eric Cooper, and Corey Willis.
Enos confirmed that Chapman has broken his collarbone during CMU's Media Day, but did not give a specific timetable, saying Chapman will be out for "the next couple weeks," This is a huge blow to the receiving corps, as Chapman was expected to take over Flory's spot as the third receiver. Some have estimated about three to four weeks, but one can never be sure about those types of things. That being said, Enos expects him back at some point in the season, which could be an added bonus for CMU.
Willis is considered the more explosive and athletic of the two major redshirt freshmen expected to get playing time this season. Enos ranted and raved about Willis, complimenting his physical ability and remarking about WIllis' quickness and explosiveness after the catch. No surprise if you read up on his history; Willis played quarterback, defensive back, running back, and returner for the Holland Dutch in high school, and was considered one of the state's best track and field athletes.
Cooper received a lot of attention from the media after Davis said that he was mentoring Cooper. Enos stated that Cooper had strong hands, great ball control, lower body strength, and "great hips." Cooper himself at CMU's Media Day said that he considered Davis "one of the best [receivers] in the country" and embraced having such a great relationship with him. When asked about what he was picking up, he said "the art of running the route... how to read coverage, and how to get out on the breaks." Cooper has been waiting for over a year to get on the field, and now he'll show what he has leaned.
Overall, it is a situation that will be one to follow throughout the season, but that doesn't mean that expectations aren't high. Towards the end of his presser at CMU's Media Day, Davis said of the freshmen that "we can count on them to come into the game and make some plays" and that "we can trust them."
We'll see just what they're made of when the season starts against the Chattanooga Mocs on August 28th.