Injuries have not been kind to the Northern Michigan University football team this season, especially at the quarterback position.
Sophomore quarterback Ryan Morley was injured midway through last season. He had off–season shoulder surgery and Morley will not be ready for the ‘Cats until the spring.
Senior quarterback Cody Scepaniak, who was NMU’s starting quarterback this season, suffered a season ending leg injury at Ashland in week three. The Wildcats then turned to junior signal caller Dustin Thomas.
Midway through his second start as a Wildcat last week at Michigan Tech, Thomas broke his throwing arm, ending his season.
With three Wildcat quarterbacks now on the shelf, NMU will start true freshman Shaye Brown on Saturday at Grand Valley State. Wildcats head coach Chris Ostrowsky talked about what qualities the 18-year old Brown brings to the table for NMU.
“Shaye Brown will be inserted and ready to roll,” said Ostrowsky. “He’s a big, strong kid. A great young man to be with and have the opportunity to coach, so I’m excited to see him go.”
Coach Ostrowsky also addressed what challenges his team will face when they take on GVSU.
“Typical Grand Valley,” said Ostrowsky of the Lakers. “They’re loaded, lots of depth, they’re fast. They are three or four deep at running back to go along with two quarterbacks, so it’ll be a tough task.”
“All we have to do is catch the ball. If we catch the ball and make plays for him, he’ll get real comfortable real fast,” said Wildcats wide receiver Christian Jessie about Brown. “All he has to do is throw the ball and try to lead this offense.”
“We will look to take advantage of some of those 1-on-1 opportunities they give you,” said Jessie about the Lakers’ defense. “They like to play a lot of man coverage, so we want to take advantage of that on the outside and try to get things done out there.”
If anything should happen injury wise to Brown, wide receiver Austin Young will take over at quarterback. Young played quarterback at Escanaba High School his senior year.
Kickoff on Saturday between the Wildcats and the Lakers is set for 7 p.m.