November 3, 2010

CMU head coach Dan Enos on Western Michigan

Central Michigan hosts Western Michigan this Friday at 6pm on ESPNU in what is characteristically the Mid-American Conference's top rivalry. Recently ChippewaCountry had a chance to catch up with CMU head coach Dan Enos to get his thoughts on the game and the progress of his team as they hope to get back in the win column.

With starters Jake Olson and LaVarus Williams out for the year, CMU was already missing a few key players. But a quick scan of the practice field saw a large number of Chippewas in red jerseys (limited practice or out) and green jerseys (no contact). In my time covering CMU football I've never seen a team as banged up as this, and it has to be taking a toll on the team.

"Well I think they've played a major part in the season. I don't think I can remember a season where I've been involved on a team where there has been this many guys banged up, in and out, don't know if they're going to play. That's no excuse, that's just the way it is, that's college football. We have to play with the cards we're dealt. But at the end of the day, I think it can pay future dividends as we have some young guys some playing time. Guys like Avery Cunningham, Kenneth McCledon is playing more, and those types of things. We've got great young people in our program and we have great leadership from our seniors…so we're going to put out who's there you know. Every game is going to be a little different and it's tough to get continuity, I think that has been the biggest thing is the continuity aspect of it. With guys not practicing during the week or not practicing until later in the week, then you get to the game and they can only play a few series, it's just hard as a coach to get reps for the guys that you know are going to be there and know you can count on during gameday. And right not we're trying to figure out who those guys are."

One position that CMU has been hit hard at by roster losses and injuries is the defensive secondary. In fact, the Chippewas have only three true corners healthy on the roster in Vince Agnew, Lorenzo White Jr. and Anthony Hollis. Are you worried about Western Michigan coming out and slinging it all over the field to try and take advantage of the inexperience there?

"I wouldn't say I'm worried about it, but I would say this. I'm very impressed with their offense and their ability to throw. I think their quarterback (Alex Carder) is very, very good. I haven't had a chance to see him until I saw the tape this week because we haven't caught them in any crossover games, but I've heard good things about him. Now that I've seen him with my own two eyes, he's going to present some challenges. He's like the kid from Miami (OH) (Zac Dysert) in my opinion, he's big and he's very accurate, but he also can make plays with his legs. He's going to be a big challenge, and the one thing he has going for him is they have a couple of real good wideouts. Juan Nunez, who's played a lot of football for them, and Jordan White, those two guys jump off the tape at me as being very good players."

What type of game do you expect on Friday?

"You know, I don't know. I haven't really done a good job in my mind of predicting how games would go so far," said Enos with a smile. "Last week, I kind of knew it was going to be a close game, I knew we were going to try and run the ball and try and keep our defense off the field. We thought we could run the ball with Paris, he ended up getting over a 100 yards but we thought we were in a real good position at the end of the game to win the game. I think this game against WMU will probably be a little more wide open because I think they're going to throw the ball around. They will probably try and test us with the run game early on and see how they're doing there, if they have success they will remain balanced, but if not I know they are going to go to the air, and I know they can be explosive when they do that."

Junior running back Paris Cotton leads the team in rushing, has been a leader, and practices harder than just about anyone on the team. He seemingly does everything a coach asks of him and some, but he has a propensity to fumble the ball (6 on the year) and has done so at critical times. As head coach, is it tough to look at playing time with a guy who does so much right, but can't hold on to the football?

"Yeah, and it's tough. And it's really tough on him. It's tough on everybody because you can't have guys who turn the ball over. We're in a situation where between him and Carl Volny, they are really the only two guys we have to go to and they're both a little bit different. Paris was playing so well on Saturday, we talked about possibly putting Carl in and doing some things, but hey, at the end of the day we were like that's the hot guy, he's been breaking tackles and doing a good job. So…I guess I just get disappointed for him, as you mentioned, he does everything right, he practices extremely hard, he's tough, he's a leader in our locker-room, and I know he doesn't like what's happening. But he has to hang onto the ball.

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