Aug. 22, 2014
By Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Mose Rison has been in the coaching game for a bit.
More than three decades, for the record, after an outstanding career as a running back at Central Michigan. His resume includes stops with several NFL teams along with some top NCAA programs. He's now in his third year as the Chippewas' wide receivers coach. \
"I'll be honest about it," Rison said after a practice this week, "I've had the good fortune to coach a lot of good football players over the years, and I can honestly say I think he's the best football player I've ever coached."
The he to whom Rison was referring is CMU senior Titus Davis, a First Team All-Mid-American Conference selection a year ago when he caught 61 passes for 1,109 yards and scored eight touchdowns.
Davis earned the Herb Deromedi Most Valuable Player Award in 2013, and he enters this season as the active leader in FBS with an 18.9-yard-per-catch average. He is on the Biletnikoff Preseason Watch List for the second straight season.
"I sit back sometimes and do some reflecting on his ability, his skill level, and I don't know that there's anything he can't do," Rison said. "There's always some things that he can polish up, and he can become a better player. But right now, he can run, he's got great size, he's got great hands, he's very intelligent, he understands the game, he's a great route runner, he can get off bump-and-run (defenses).
"Tremendous football player."
And a tremendous building block around which to form what has the potential to be an outstanding Chippewa receiving corps in 2014.
"I've got a bunch of young kids (at wide receiver), and we talk about work ethic," Rison said. "Titus has a tremendous work ethic and he had that from the day I arrived here. It's not like all of a sudden that was created or I coached him to do it. It's Titus Davis. That's the kind of football player he is. He has a tremendous work ethic and because of that, obviously a lot of kids look up to him, no question."
Among the other returnees at the position are Jesse Kroll, Courtney Williams and Anthony, all of whom logged significant playing time a year ago, though Kroll - a junior who has shown tremendous potential - appeared in just three games because of an injury.
Williams, a senior, and Rice, a sophomore, combined for 318 yards on 31 catches a year ago.
Freshmen Corey Willis, Eric Cooper and junior Ryan Hansen are among those vying for playing time, and could, in fact, play key roles particularly in light of an injury to redshirt freshman Mark Chapman.
"Corey Willis, Eric Cooper, Ryan Hansen, those kids have come along tremendously," Rison said. "When you add those kids with those veteran guys who have played, it gives us eight or nine kids who without a question I can put in the ball game and feel comfortable with them playing."
Another factor working in the favor of the CMU passing game is a more-experienced Cooper Rush at quarterback. Rush, a sophomore, began the 2013 season third on the depth chart, but was the starter by game three. He completed 56.7 percent of his passes a year ago and tossed 15 touchdown passes. He was also intercepted 15 times.
"If you're a wide receiver and you know going into a ball game or going into a season that you've got a quarterback, like Cooper Rush, who has played in a bunch of football games, that makes you very comfortable," Rison said. "From a passing-game standpoint, when a quarterback is on-point, and you're on the same page as your quarterback, you've got to be excited."