Thursday, August 30, 2012

CMU vs. Southeast Missouri State live chat

Here is the live chat link for tonight's game:

Central Michigan vs. Southeast Missouri State Live Chat

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Some Tuesday CMU tidbits

I spoke with coach Enos after CMU's practice today and got his thoughts on a few various issues such as key position battles, the young linebacker group, and how preparation is going for the opener versus Southeast Missouri State.

Also talked for several minutes with newly-anointed captain Cody Wilson, who says he has felt good over the past week and is returning to form from his injury. A story on him will run sometime in the next of week as well as several others leading up to the Aug. 30 kickoff. Right now we are trying to get all settled with prep football kicking off Thursday and Friday. After that, it's all CMU all the time.

On a sidenote, I was told by someone that Southeast Missouri State's presidents dislikes the school being referred to as SEMO. So out of respect, I am going to try and refrain from using that acronym despite laziness attempting to pull me in that direction.

Enos' thoughts from today:

"Starting today, we dedicated our full practice to (Southeast Missouri State). We did some little things last week to start getting ready, but today is where we really got it going. We gave the guys a couple of days off to freshen up a bit and it was nice to get back out here today. We basically had everyone participate in practice other than one of our true freshmen. That is the first time in three years that it has happened."

Concerning the naming of captains: "We have a lot of leaders. Joe Kinville, Jahleel (Addae), and Cody were obviously voted but we had a lot of guys getting votes. Darren Keyton, Jake Olson, Ryan Radcliff, Avery Cunningham even. But we definitely have a lot of seniors who are leaders. David Harman, our kicker, does a great job of leading. Our punter Curtis Huge does as well. We really like how many guys are stepping up as leaders this year. I told our guys that those three might be the captains, but everyone has to lead in their own way."

On position battles: "We are still looking at the backup quarterback spot. We've got guys there in really close competition. We have tight ends that are still battling, offensive linemen that are battling. We have d-linemen battling too, maybe not for who is going to play at the start of the game but who is going to get the reps by the end of the game. There is even a battle going on at the punter position, Richie Hogan and Curtis Huge are going at it. Our kickoff guys, Connor Gagnon and Ron Coluzzi, are still going at it. So we're still evaluating at many positions and we still have time. We're going to have good, physical practices through this week and probably by the end of the week we will have all of our decisions made."

On the linebacker position: "You know, we are young at linebacker but all of them have played. Shamari Benton is in his fourth year, he's started games. Justin Cherocci is in his third year and started games. Ryan Petro and Cody Lopez have both started games. So I think we are excited about those guys and they bring some experience, then those younger guys are going to have to come along a little bit."

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Dan Enos speaks about Saturday morning's scrimmage

I talked to CMU head coach Dan Enos at the conclusion of today's scrimmage about what was the focus of the day.

"We got a lot of situations in. There were certain players we targeted to get a lot of reps and a lasting evaluation. I thought there was a lot of good give and take on both sides of the ball. In last week's scrimmage, I think the defense really dominated. Today, it was far more even which is what you look for. There were good things happening on both sides of the ball. In certain situations, the defense was ahead. In other situations, the offense was ahead."

"I saw (quarterback) Ryan Radcliff play very, very well which was good because he didn't play poorly last week but he wasn't as good as he had been. So seeing him rebound and play very well today was a positive."

"I saw some wide receivers make some plays and I saw some defensive linemen be disruptive. A lot of guys, we held out the last 40-50 plays and our young guys got a lot of reps. So I think the future is very bright."

"What we did is we tailored the first hour of the practice for the first-team guys to get a lot of reps, then after about an hour or an hour and 10 minutes we took them out and went the rest of the way with the two's and three's on the depth chart. We wanted to give our one's more work, good on good and fast on fast. I think we accomplished that."

"I think it's been a pretty consistent group that hasn't had to amp it up more from one day to the next because it's been that way throughout camp. I think one area where we've been the most fortunate is with our team health. There were only about five guys in red shirts today and a couple of those guys were out with the flu so we're going to get them back. Everybody over there I would anticipate we get them back shortly, hopefully by Tuesday. I think when you have all your guys healthy, you are able to practice longer and faster. You aren't wearing a guy or a group of guys down because you have depth at every position. That's happened to us the last couple of years. It's been a consistent 19 practices, walk-throughs have been focused, film room has been focused. I think we are right on track and on schedule."

Anthony Young was one player I asked about as far as injuries go and he did indeed participate in the scrimmage today. I'll have a story on him this upcoming week, plus look for stories on Tipton/Garland and hopefully Jason Wilson in the upcoming days among other things. And I'll also have a story sometime before the opener on all the additions to Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Enos' thoughts prior to tomorrow's scrimmage

Talked with Coach Enos for about 5-10 minutes after the morning practice today. Tomorrow morning is CMU's initial scrimmage, so I bended his ear a little on what to expect there. Also touched on Titus Davis/Courtney Williams and the rest of the receiver corps, plus how Radcliff and the other quarterbacks are developing chemistry with them.

"Tomorrow, we are just going to look at a lot of different situations and try to get as many of those situations covered as we can. We've done all the situations in practices, but we're going to put the players on the field and make the situations as game-like as possible. The biggest thing for scrimmages is that you get the coaches off the field and let the players show what they can do and what they know. Get them in the huddle, get them out of the huddle and used to playing with a tempo and the 40-second clock. We'll work two-minute and a lot of other scenarios."

"The other big thing is that we have a lot of young guys in the program and we want to see how they respond now to live situations. Who can break tackles, who can make tackles. At the end of the day, who can really make plays. Players like to scrimmage because it's as game-like as we can get it. We don't mess around with a lot of drill work. It's almost like a game in that we put the ball down and let the guys get after it a little bit. They accuse me of blowing the whistle too early, but we'll be very smart. We have a more veteran team than I've had in my two previous seasons here, so some of those guys won't play a lot of snaps. Maybe take them out after a series or two. Then there are other guys we want to get 40 plays or 45 plays. As a coaching staff, it is important for us to be organized so we know who we want to see and when we want to see them."

On Davis/Williams: "Courtney missed the entire spring with an injury. You have a guy there that played six games as a true freshman and then got hurt last year and missed the rest of the season. So he hasn't been coached a lot and really see him improving every single day, fundamentally and technically. Last year at this time, I'd call a route and he would have no idea what I just said. Now he knows the routes and really concentrating on how to run them better, how to put his body in the right position to make the play. With Titus, he was able to practice all spring so that was his time. Now you've seen him have a spring and a chance to elevate his game.

On the rest of the receivers: "Jerry Harris has been good so far, as has Andrew Flory. Cody Wilson we've been careful with, but he's been good when on the field. Jesse Kroll and Deon Butler as well. We're very excited about that group."

On what the quarterbacks are showing: "Radcliff has had three or four practices in a row where he has been really solid. Cody Kater as well. Kater was a guy who came here in the spring and didn't know what was going on. He struggled the entire spring because he didn't know what was going on. Now he has had the spring, summer, and now fall camp to consistently improve. You can really see his game has elevated. Him, Alex Niznak, and A.J. Westendorp are still getting a lot of reps. They've all done a good job, but Cody Kater in particular these last three days has done a really good job."

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Enos quotes after first CMU two-a-day

CMU football had its second day in full pads Wednesday as well as its first two-a-day of the practice schedule. Here are some Dan Enos quotes from tonight....

On the amped-up level of physicality: "We've been pretty physical all camp and had our first two-a-day today after putting on the full pads yesterday. We've done some live stuff these past two days and gotten in a lot of situational work. We have done short-yardage, red zone, plus-10 red zone, 3rd-and-long, 3rd-and-medium. Basically, we have gotten a lot of situational things covered. We obviously still have time to hit, but there is plenty of time to do that. Guys are practicing with a lot of effort right now."

On where key position battles are going on: "Cody Kater is having a tremendous camp at quarterback right now. He is really pushing for that No. 2 spot with those other guys. The cornerback position has been a great battle with Lorenzo White, Anthony Young, Jason Wilson, Dennis Nalor. All those guys have been showing up at different spots. On the defensive line, Caesar Rodriguez has been very good. Joe Kinville, Steve Winston, Matt Losiniecki have done a really good job. A lot of the young guys are getting better so there's a lot of talent there. The young running backs are really battling, I really like all three freshmen and they have looked good. So there are a lot of positive things going on."

On the younger guys picking up the schemes: "There are a lot of things in and the young running backs (Saylor Lavalli, Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore, and Martez Walker) have been the most impressive to me because usually when running backs come in, protections and those types of things set them back a bit. But these three guys have been very impressive. Coach Shankweiler has done a tremendous job with them and also our older running backs (Zurlon Tipton, Anthony Garland, Tim Phillips) have done a really good job of helping them along. You can really see it."

On who is the starting running back between Tipton and Garland: "If we played tomorrow, both of them would play a bunch. We have no problem putting either of those guys in on short-yardage situations, passing situations, goal line, whatever the case may be."

On where Tim Phillips is at health-wise: "He looks good early in camp. It looks like he has his quickness back. We're hoping he can be healthy because he can give us another element, another dimension there."

On the health of the rest of the team: "We've got a few guys nicked up and a few guys we are being cautious with. A few of the younger guys got sick with the flu and didn't practice today, but other than that we are pretty good right now. Knock on wood."

On Cody Wilson returning from his injury: "Cody has looked good. We are not practicing him every day because of his toe. We are trying to take it easy with him because we need him for the season. The times that we have seen him he looks really good."

On juco transfer wide receiver DeFarrel Davis: "DeFarrel is fast. He's extremely fast. He's very explosive and is picking up things pretty well. He is going to be in the hunt. He's made some plays, but he is still learning too. So every day he gets with Coach Rison he will continue to get better and better."

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Joe Kinville quotes.

CMU had its first practice in full pads Tuesday. Dan Enos was not made available afterward, but I spoke for a few minutes with senior defensive end Joe Kinville. Here is what he had to say:

"The first day in full pads put everyone's intensity level a little higher and guys laced them up and were ready to hit. So it was exciting today. We made a lot of big hits and a lot of big plays. Now it's time for us on defense to show what we can do and let the pads pop a little bit."

"We have a lot of younger guys up front who have been good so far. (Defensive linemen) Louis Palmer and Jabari Dean both have played really well so far and impressed me."

"We are a veteran group on defense this year. We have a lot of guys back who have been on the field before. We can play faster because we have been through the program together and we're all ready and excited to accomplish our goals this year. The offense will help us as well just because they are a lot like us in that they have a lot of guys back. They will play fast and together and should be exciting to watch."

"I've just been working on knowing my assignments. It's very important up front to be sound technique-wise, so this offseason it is what I have focused on the most."

On having his younger brother Mike on the team: "It's a blessing. My parents come to every game and love it. They get to watch us both play Division I football, so it's exciting. I love it."

I'll also have a 10 Questions with quarterbacks coach Morris Watts in Monday's paper. I talked to him today and it was quite awesome to listen to a coach with such a great history in college football.