Every week, the Mid-American Conference holds a conference call for media to call and ask the coaches some questions in regards to their football teams. One big question that was answered by Eastern Michigan's Chris Creighton was who their starting quarterback would be.
If there was ever a way to create fireworks during Week 1 previews, this is how you do it. Reggie Bell wasn't even considered a major contender for the starting job by, well, just about everybody outside of this coaching staff.
Who the hell is Reggie Bell?
Bell is a 4-star prospect from Ohi- wait, wrong guy. *clears throat*
Bell isn't new to this whole "starting quarterback" thing, as he was the first true freshman to start at Penn Sta- damnit, I did it again. *cough cough*
/searches for his bio on the internet.
Look, while I'm trying to find stuff about him on the internet, take a look at this high school highlight tape of his:
Coming into 2014, Bell is a redshirt freshman, having sat out all of last year. Good height at 6-foot-3 and listed at 184 pounds. He was rated a 2-star prospect by both Rivals and Scout websites while 247sports has him as a three-star player coming out of high school. For anybody that hates the star system in football recruiting, this is a good chance for you to break out that cigar you've been wanting to smoke.
What about the other two guys?
Brogan Roback and Rob Bolden were supposed to be the two that were expected to win starting jobs. They didn't win the job heading into Week 1 of the season, and that's fine. They still have over a month to out-perform Bell in games and practices before MAC play begins. The only thing about this is that offensive coordinator Kalen DeBoer doesn't like to rotate his quarterbacks a lot.
"You want to pick the right guy," DeBeor said. "I don't want really to be a team that rotates quarterbacks in. I don't really like to do that."
Having to pick the right guy can be hard, especially when you're dealing with a pool of players that are mostly here from Ron English's recruiting.
What does this mean for the program as a whole?
Everybody gets an honest chance. It's as simple as that. Bell was given the same opportunity that Roback and Bolden had to be the starting quarterback against Morgan State. Looking ahead, all three will have the same opportunities to be the starter for the 11 games that will follow. For now, Bell is the starting quarterback in Week 1, and I refuse to read too much into it.
This also means that nobody is going to be given a starting position. The work ethic that's been preached about is coming full circle with this move. If you work hard and do well, then you will earn your playing time. Many coaches talk about playing the guys that work the hardest in practices and whatnot, but this just shows that Creighton isn't afraid of thinking outside the box that everybody else has figuratively put him in. With that said, playing time for running backs, wide receivers, tight ends, offensive line, defensive line, linebackers, cornerbacks, safety and special teams are all up for grabs.
This is good for those being recruited by EMU as well. If you think you're going to be an incoming freshman in 2015 to automatically sit out a year and wait in line for a starting position, think again. Open competition is a real thing at Eastern Michigan now. I'll wait a few games to confirm this, but a decision like this made by the coaching staff leads me to believe that there isn't a whole lot of stubbornness going on here. Let's say they want Bell to start, but named either Roback or Bolden instead. Nobody would be asking Creighton or DeBoer about Bell's playing time, nor would there be questions about the coaching staff about practicing what they preach about work ethic. Those questions answer themselves with this move, and the honesty should be respected.
In the end, the Eagles have a pair of 4-star prospects on the bench. That can be a very good problem to have.