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A college sports blog from The Oakland Press, dedicated to covering Michigan and Michigan State athletics as well as former Oakland County athletes at other schools.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

WEEK FIVE ROUNDUP: Fisher moves into starting role at RT for CMU

The new Central Michigan coaching staff went into the season with the knowledge that it had seven starter-ready offensive linemen to man the five positions — four returning starters, and three more backups who were ready to contribute whenever needed.

Now, the Chippewas (2-3, 1-2 MAC) are down to just six. The Mount Pleasant Morning Sun is reporting that left tackle Jake Olson will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury he suffered during the Eastern Michigan game. He's missed the last two losses, forcing starting right tackle Rocky Weaver to flip to the other end of the line, and pushing Stoney Creek sophomore Eric Fisher into the starting lineup in Weaver's old spot. It appears that reshuffling will be permanent.

Fisher appeared headed for a redshirt as a true freshman, but blew that chance when he was needed as an injury replacement for Olson last year. The 6-foot-7, 295-pound Fisher has played in every game but one this season.

It will be paramount for CMU to quickly figure out the pass protection schemes with the new alignment, if first-year starter Ryan Radcliff is going to survive, especially with the Chippewas going on the road to Virginia Tech this week. In last week's 31-17 loss to Ball State, the Cardinals — who'd had just three sacks in their first three games — had six sacks of Radcliff, including 4.5 by end Robert Eddins, who was the MAC West Defensive Player of the Week for the performance.

Radcliff still threw for 295 yards and two TDs — one each to tight end David Blackburn (7 catches, 89 yards) and wideout Cody Wilson (5-84), a Rochester Adams grad — keeping himself and Wilson among the MAC and NCAA leaders in at their respective positions.

It was the CMU defense, though, that may have let the Chippewas down in their first home loss and first loss to a MAC West team since 2008. The Cardinals racked up 306 yards on the ground against what had been a top-20 rush defense, doubling the total of yards the Chippewas had given up on the ground. Backup linebacker Mike Petrucci (Milford) had a career-high 10 tackles and a sack for CMU.

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