MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – With just one week left in a productive spring season, the Chippewas hosted a full-scale live scrimmage in their indoor turf bay Saturday morning.
Designed to put players through a variety of game situations, the scrimmage was moved indoors at the last minute in order to take advantage of ideal conditions instead of adding a strong wind and rain/snow mix into the evaluation equation.
Four quarterbacks - Cody Kater, Alex Niznak, Cooper Rush, and A.J. Westendorp - rotated possessions with the first and second team offense against the first and second team defense.
"All of them have done a good job," said head coach Dan Enos after the scrimmage. "We are trying to get each of them enough reps to evaluate them, but this isn't a sprint to figure out who the starter is going to be. We'll see who wins it over the long haul, meaning the spring, off-season conditioning, summer time, and then fall camp."
Using a modified scoring system that awarded points for special offensive and defensive plays, in addition to touchdowns and field goals, the offense took an early lead with scores on three of their first four possessions. On the very first drive, Deon Butler broke a tackle and turned a short pass from Kater into a 45-yard gain which set up a pair of runs by Anthony Garland that got the offense into the end zone.
Niznak, using a balanced attack of passing and rushing on his first possession, matched the sustained drive led by Kater, and marched the offense downfield for a 26-yard field goal by Ron Coluzzi. Rush took over at quarterback on the fourth possession and promptly completed a 35-yard pass to Titus Davis on his first play from scrimmage. Two plays later running back Tim Phillips eluded several tacklers for a 30-yard touchdown run.
"We are so far ahead of where we were as far as the installation of the x's and o's," said Enos. "Having those 13 or 14 bowl practices really helped. We have seen a lot of carry-over from that going into spring practice."
The defense got back in the game and held a lead for a while after stringing together stops on seven of the next eight drives, including two interceptions, three sacks and three tipped passes at the line of scrimmage.
But the offense was able to regain the lead and hold on for the duration once they began red-zone drills, having little problem getting into the end zone on three of the four drives.
View the complete interview with Coach Enos in the video above.
The annual spring game and kids clinic is scheduled for Saturday, April 13.
Anthony Garland, 6-yd run
Ron Coluzzi, 26-yd field goal
Tim Philips, 30-yd run
Ron Coluzzi, 23-yd field goal
Jesse Kroll 18-yd catch from Cody Kater
Tim Philips, 11-yd run
Titus Davis 22-yd catch from Cooper Rush
Anthony Garland, 6-yd run