Q&A: Leading receiver Corey Willis previews upcoming season
Senior wide receiver Corey Willis showed flashes of speed and ability during his junior season with the Central Michigan football team last year, leading the Chippewas in receptions, yards and touchdowns.
Those numbers earned him a spot on the All Mid-American Conference Second Team Offense. Willis averaged 83.9 yards per game in 2016 and became of former quarterback Cooper Rush’s favorite targets.
In his senior season, CMU’s reigning offensive player of the year has the opportunity to increase those numbers with a new system some receivers dream about - the spread offense.
Central Michigan Life spoke with the Holland native to get his thoughts on the upcoming season.
CM LIFE: How does it feel to be back at training camp?
WILLIS: It feels great. Usually coming into your senior year, it is always exciting no matter what, but I am excited for different reasons this year. This is the most excited I have been since I have been here (at CMU). Being in an offense that fits me, around coaches that love me and being around a bunch of guys that support me makes me excited for the season in general.
What changes have you made in the offseason?
I think there is always room for improvement in everything. I have just been trying to stick to the grind. If anything has been really different it has been getting used to Shane (Morris’) left handed ball but that just comes with time. I’ve been getting in a bit better shape as opposed to last year because I know that we are going to be running a little bit more.
How will the new offense influence your production?
I think the offense as a whole is going to be better. Because of a faster tempo, our production is going to be different simply because of that. At the end of the day we are trying to play eight and nine deep receiver-wise so if that means that the younger guys are getting some my catches, then so be it. I’m going to be fresh and ready to go every time I go in there.
What is going to be different with the new offensive scheme?
Last year, we were an electric offense at times, but I think we are just trying to work on consistency. If there is something that we are trying to change, then it would be the tempo. One thing I can definitely say is that we are going to be fast.
What are your thoughts on the 2017 schedule with so many midweek games?
I think that it is a gift and a curse because I know that we always want to play under that spotlight. When we play on the weekdays, usually we are going to be the only game on (TV). At the same time, I know my parents want to come and see me play, and it’s going to be that much tougher to see us during the week. As far as the team, I think that we are just looking at it as a business trip. Everything that we do is just business, it really doesn’t matter if we are playing on Saturday, Sunday, Monday or Tuesday.
Has it been difficult to adjust to two different quarterbacks with opposite throwing arms?
It is different, not because there are two guys, but because there are two completely different personalities. When I came in, one thing that I was always confident about was that Cooper Rush was going to be there. I never really had to worry about any other quarterbacks. In the spring, I got really confident with Tony (Poljan) and in the summer, I’ve been working with Shane (Morris) so I think that either guy can come in and we can have a prolific offense.
What do you want the fans to know before your first game?
I want them to know that this season is going to be different. Everything as far as the way we are coming out and the energy in the stadium is going to be different. I think that CMU has a great tradition of having plenty of fans in the stands and I think that will never change. It’s going to be different, we are going to be fast and you guys better be ready.