10-15 MAC Teleconference quotes from CMU coach Dan Enos, Ball State coach Pete Lembo
Initial thoughts on the Navy game:
"First off, you have to give Navy a lot of credit. They executed and played very disciplined and sound. For us, it basically comes down to five or six plays in the game that we didn't execute. Offensively, we were out of synch pretty much the entire evening. You have to give Navy some credit for that, but we just weren't doing things we were doing the past four or five weeks in a row. So that was a little disappointing. Then defensively, we gave up three big pass plays and against a team like that you can't do that. We were able to get them in 17 third down situations, which meant we were tackling them pretty well on first and second down.We limited their explosive runs to only two, a 12-yard run and a 14-yard run. There were some positives out of it, but at the end of the day we were very disappointed with our execution. We were down at the 4-yard line twice and had to kick field goals twice. When Navy sucks the air out of you possessing the ball, when you have opportunities to score offensively you have to. We weren't able to capitalize on those."
Further thoughts on failures in the red zone:
"We weren't the first kickoff down and had a couple opportunities inside the 10, then we had a penalty. We had a nice play develop on the play where we had a penalty, so we think we would have had a nice chance to score. We cut the score to 17-10 at the half which we felt good about, then we had a great drive at the start of the third quarter and get a 2nd-and-goal on the 4 and we have to kick a field goal. We could have tied the game at that point, made it 17-17, and we didn't do that. We made it 17-13, then Navy came right back and scored a touchdown. At the end of the day, it comes down to when you play good teams you have to capitalize on your opportunities and we weren't able to do that."
Thoughts on Ball State:
Very good team, very impressed. They have a lot of older players, a lot of juniors and seniors playing which usually bodes well for your football program. Offensive line, they have a lot of fifth-year seniors in there. Their quarterback (Keith Wenning) is playing at a very high level. Their skill guys are good. Then defensively, I like the way their playing as well. They do a lot of different things in their blitz packages. They do good stuff, they are very well-coached, and they are a very good football team. So it doesn't get any easier, every week is going to be a challenge. We have another home game and we're looking forward to playing again."
On the importance of the next three MAC home games:
"Again, you have to play one game at a time and we feel good about our football team. And our football team feels good. We understand that we didn't play as well as we wanted to on Friday night, but that happens in athletics and not everyone plays like they want to play every week. We're still playing a lot of young guys, a lot of first and second-year players are playing football for us. They're learning every week and every week is a learning experience. You know, we had a true freshman start at safety this week against Navy. A throw goes over his head for a touchdown and it wasn't for a lack of effort or want to, but hey.... you are going to have to learn from that and move on. But ultimately, these young guys that are playing have to grow up fast and our older players have to help them through that."
His impression of Navy freshman quarterback Keenan Reynolds:
"I thought he was very, very good. I thought he played with great poise. I thought he executed very well and I thought he was very athletic. So I was very impressed with him."
The reasoning behind benching quarterback Ryan Radcliff and if it will impact his confidence:
"We took him out to see if we could find a spark. It wasn't really Ryan Radcliff. I mean, there were a lot of things going on offensively that weren't getting done and executed. Basically what we did with Ryan, we told him we needed a spark. We had to change something. It wasn't going and we needed to try and create something, so we put Cody (Kater) in to see what he could do. But at this point, Ryan is still our quarterback and it was nothing more than trying to generate a spark with our football team."
Ball State coach Pete Lembo:
On his overall view of Central Michigan:
"I really think Central Michigan has a very good team. They are very talented and physical. They've played a tough schedule so far. They've gotten some good wins and they've been really close in some games against some really good teams. They are a young team like us. I believe they have 10 senior starters, we have seven or eight. So these are two relatively young teams. Last year's game was close and competitive. They had a chance to beat us down here and we were able to come from behind, so I'm sure they'll be hungry for a win against us and excited to be at home. Just like most of our games this year, I anticipate this is going to be another close one."
On Central Michigan offensively:
"They are very balanced (offensively) and very multiple. So they are going to give you a lot of different personnel groupings and they are going to be able to run it and throw it effectively out of all those sets and groupings. They've got some outstanding skill players. I really like the receiving corps. Obviously, Titus Davis and Cody Wilson are very, very good players in this league. They have some good offensive linemen and tremendous depth at tailback. Just when you think you have a good feel for their depth in the backfield, they have this young freshman (Saylor) Lavallii who steps in and he is a real power runner as well. So I think they really wear you out with their tailbacks and it is a combination of a balanced scheme and good players.
On why CMU has struggled defending the run:
"A lot of it has to do with the schedule they have played. Anytime you play an Academy, that is certainly going to skew your statistics. Then you look at some of the other teams they have played. Southeast Missouri is a heavy running team, then Iowa and Northern Illinois are heavy run teams. So I think a lot of it has to do with the nature of their schedule early in the season. I've been watching a lot of their defense and I do think they are very solid, very sound schematically. Their kids play extremely hard. They play eight defensive linemen so they do rotate some guys into the game. I think they are very physical at safety. So I think a lot of it has to do with the strength of their schedule and what their opponents have done schematically."