Smooth Operator: Colter in Control Staff

July 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

Troy Taormina-US PRESSWIRE

Junior quarterback Kain Colter wants to become an orthopedic surgeon after his playing days. Here is how he came to set that goal:

During the first game of his senior year at Cherry Creek (Colo.) High School, Colter tore the labrum and biceps tendon in his throwing arm. Dr. Eric McCarty, the University of Colorado’s head team physician and a family friend, performed the surgery to fix Colter’s right shoulder.

“He videotaped the surgery and let me watch it,” Colter said.

“It was pretty cool to see. After that, I got to go and sit in on two more of his surgeries. It was a real crazy experience, a thing I really enjoyed and got me into it. (Being an orthopedic surgeon) has been the plan ever since.”

In the meantime, Colter gets to operate Northwestern’s spread offense on a full-time basis.

He started the first three games last season while Dan Persa worked his way back to health. During the final 10 games, Colter lined up primarily at receiver with occasional turns at quarterback — such as when Persa injured his shoulder during the first half of NU’s 28-25 upset at No. 9 Nebraska.

Colter threw infrequently in his relief role against the Cornhuskers (4 of 6), but rushed 17 times for 57 yards and two touchdowns to earn Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors.

For the year, he led the Wildcats with 654 yards and nine touchdowns on the ground. He completed 55 of 82 passes (67 percent) for 673 yards and six scores, yet still found time to catch 43 passes for 466 passes and three touchdowns. Not bad for a guy who never attended any meetings with the wideouts.

“It felt like it was just in the backyard playing again with your buddies,” Colter said.

As much as the Wildcats love his ability to create on the fly, they spent spring ball making him more of a complete quarterback. With so many receivers at his disposal, they’d like him to go through all of his progressions.

“I’d go through one or two last year, but as far as looking back-side and looking for a check-down, I’d figure I’d just run and get the same yardage,” Colter said with a smile.

“This spring when something broke down, I’d try to scramble to pass instead of scramble to run. This year, I feel like I can just distribute the ball and let them (WRs) make plays.”