Optimism High for CMU Offense in 2012
Courtesy: Tim Fitzgerald/CMU Athletics
Ryan Radcliff looks downfield during practice. Radcliff is entering his third season as the Chippewas' starting quarterback.

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A three-year starter at quarterback, emerging weapons in the skill positions and a veteran offensive line make up the projected Central Michigan offense in 2012.

The Chippewas will field one of the most veteran offenses in the Mid-American Conference this fall, a welcome change for CMU head coach Dan Enos.

"We're excited about the depth that we have on offense," Enos said. "We have a lot of guys back, we have a lot of experience, and we're very excited about that group.

"I think the big thing last year was that we didn't have everyone healthy together for very long," he added. "Northern Illinois might have been the only game all year where we had everyone healthy, and we put up 48 points and almost 600 yards."

Ryan Radcliff enters his senior season already ranking No. 2 in school history in nearly every career passing category. He played the best football of his career late in the 2011 season, throwing for a league leading 2,491 yards (311.4 ypg) in eight MAC games last season. He also threw 19 touchdown passes (tied for the MAC lead) against just six interceptions in the Chippewas eight MAC contests.

Radcliff's favorite target the past two years has been classmate Cody Wilson, who ranks in the Chippewas' career top-10 in both receptions and receiving yards. Wilson was slowed by an injury late in the 2011 campaign, but still earned All-MAC third team honors and led the team with 48 receptions.

Titus Davis garnered Freshman All-America honors after catching 40 balls for 751 yards and eight touchdowns in 2011, while Courtney Williams scored touchdowns on his first two career receptions and finished with 21 catches for 385 yards and five touchdowns in just six games. Davis and Williams were the only true freshman teammates in the country with at least five touchdown catches in 2012.

As many as four different running backs could see action in 2012. Anthony Garland is the top returner, having rushed for 378 yards and a score as a true freshman in 2011. Zurlon Tipton (370 yards, two touchdowns) and Tim Phillips (214 yards, one touchdown) also return, while Austin White is added to the mix after sitting out the 2011 season to fulfill transfer requirements.

Up front, CMU returns six linemen who started multiple games in 2011: seniors Eric Fisher, Darren Keyton, Jake Olson and Mike Repovz and sophomores Kevin Henry and Andy Phillips.

The biggest hole for the Chippewas to fill is at tight end with the graduation of All-MAC second team selection David Blackburn. Jarrett Fleming, Connor Odykirk and Caleb Southworth all saw significant playing time in 2011, while Ben McCord is expected to step into a contributing role after redshirting last season.

Spring Game April 14: CMU's spring football game is set for Saturday, April 14 at 2 p.m. The football program will host a free kids clinic at Kelly/Shorts Stadium beginning at 11:30 a.m. that day.