Friday, April 05, 2002

QBs' injuries delay MU's spring practices

Roethlisberger, Betts recovering for extra 10 days

By Ian Duthie
Enquirer contributor

RedHawks QB Ben Roethlisberger against UC at Miami University last season.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Miami University football coach Terry Hoeppner faces a regular-season opener against North Carolina Aug.31, but he has had to push back the start of spring practice 10 days because of RedHawks injuries.

        Most troubling for Hoeppner were the injuries to his top two quarterbacks, Ben Roethlisberger and Josh Betts, which would have made offensive practice nearly impossible for the planned April 2 start date.

        Roethlisberger, the starter, has been slowed by a right wrist injury that occurred while lifting weights, but he said the extra time has helped him recover and he's feeling nearly 100 percent. Second-stringer Betts is still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered skiing in the offseason.

        “You always look forward to the beginning of any season,” Roethlisberger said. “This is just the start, but you look to improve every time out. (Spring practice) is all about getting reps and the feel for playing against a defense.”

        Roethlisberger, a freshman All-American, is the only RedHawks quarterback who has any real game experience after last season's backup, Ryan Hawk, transferred to Ohio University in December.

        Roethlisberger, now a redshirt sophomore, benefited from early spring practice last season to learn the team's new, high-paced offense that often went without a huddle, relying on the quarterback to get the team to the line and determine the best play.

        Betts was reshirted last season and will get more snaps now as the second-stringer. For spring practices to be beneficial, Hoeppner needed to have his top quarterbacks as healthy as possible.

        The Red and White Game is still scheduled for April20.

        “We use this as a time to see what the young guys are capable and where they can help the team,” senior defensive back Milt Bowen said. “You hope to get where your mind knows what is happening (on the field) so it can tell your body what to do and be successful when it really counts.”


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