Dan Enos MAC Media Day quotes Pt. 1
Also look for quotes from MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher, Miami coach Don Treadwell, UMass coach Charley Molnar, Eastern Michigan coach Ron English, Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey, and Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck over the next week.
On the quarterback battle:
On slot receiver position:
"Within our structure, they all play inside. Titus Davis has played inside, Courtney Williams has played inside. Jesse Kroll can play inside. They've all been forced to play inside at one time or another so they've all learned those routes. They big thing that Cody Wilson did last year that I noticed from watching the cutups is that he caught the ball in traffic. That's the big thing that we try to get through to these guys. It's a little different now with running those option routes in zones. There are a lot of nuances in running those. Andrew Flory showed well in spring and we are going to give him the opportunity to play in there. We're going to put the best guy in there who understands the nuances."
On difficulties of schedule:
"Every year I've been here, you guys come in here and say we have a difficult schedule. When you are on our side in the MAC West, it's a tough schedule. We always play Northern Illinois, who has won the league I don't know how many times. The way I look at it is that we have an equal amount of home and road games. We typically play well at home, but we also won some tough road games last year. We're going to look at the positives in our schedule and there are a lot of teams in our league with a tough schedule. I think that is kind of the lay of the land in our league. We don't really worry about it being tough."
On mid-week games:
"I think it will be good to have extra time to heal for guys who are banged up to get them healthy. It will be good for our coaches to get out on the road to recruit. We'll treat it very similar to getting ready for a bowl game. We'll continue to work out and get back in the weight room. We'll continue looking at video. At the end of the day, I think it will be good to have that extra time."
On who will be filling leadership roles:
"Two of them are here today in Zurlon Tipton and Avery Cunningham. Shamari Benton and Kenny McClendon on defense. Leterrius Walton and Jason Wilson also on defense. We've got a lot of guys on that side who have played a lot of football. On offense, it's the same thing. Receivers like Titus Davis and Andrew Flory. Jake Olson and Andy Phillips on the offensive line. Those guys have started a lot of games. Adam Fenton is a fifth-year senior who has provided god leadership. We're not concerned at all about our team. We lost two tremendous leaders. There is no doubt about that. And way more leadership than even that because a lot of those seniors that don't get a lot of notoriety did a great job behind the scenes like Mike Repovz and Darren Keyton. Our guys learned a lot about leadership from them. They are going to take the reins. Leadership sometimes has to come from young guys too and we have the guys to do that."
On the winning streak to end last season being a turning point for program:
"I think it showed our guys that what we are doing is working. Last year I kept telling everybody that I think we have a pretty good football team. Our football team believed we have a good football team. I've talked to our football team many times since then that they never wavered. We went down 14-0 at Eastern Michigan. Titus Davis fumbled and got hurt on the first play of the game. You know what? A lot of people can fold the tent in that situation. Our team did the opposite and got it to 14-10 by halftime, then went on to win that football game. Our coaching staff and players really stuck together. and believed in one another. Football is a game of adversity and highs and lows. You have to play through that and I'm proud of the way our football team was able to do that last year. Hopefully we can learn from that and carry it with us when we need to. If we buckle down and stick together, we have a chance to beat everyone on our schedule."
On importance of linebackers Justin Cherocci and Shamari Benton:
"A lot of people don't realize it, but Justin Cherocci began last spring as a walk-on. He had the mentality that he wanted to come here and we didn't have a scholarship for him. Al Fracassa told me that if we take on Justin Cherocci, he'll become a three-year starter for us. When Al Fracassa says something like that, you listen. He earned his scholarship and he was in the top 10 in the league in tackles. He continues to get better and better and better. He is a great young man. Him and Shamari form a very solid linebacker duo that will only get better. When we played in the bowl game and Western Kentucky had the ball on our own goal line after we missed on the 4th-and-1, I believe Shamari made all three tackles to keep them right there. Then we blocked the punt. Shamari either made every play or disrupted every play. That really changed the game. That's the way we expect him to play this entire season. They are both tough linebackers who work hard."
On the new helmet-to-helmet contact automatic ejection rule:
"I think any rule that makes the game safer for players is good for everyone. Now if you do it you know you are going to get thrown out. It's really going to question the depth of your football team. I think the one great thing they have done with the rule is that they are going to review it. So they are going to make sure they get it right. Because if a player gets thrown out, it hurts both the team and the player. You don't get a lot of opportunities to play college football games. When you have to miss a game for that it's pretty devastating. So it will definitely have an impact, but I'm encouraged that they are taking the steps to make sure they get it right. We review so many things now that I don't think it will disrupt the flow of the game."
On transition of Deon Butler from wide receiver to tight end:
"It's going great. I couldn't be any more pleased. Two years ago, I asked Deon about moving to tight end. He flat out said no. I'm not big on making guys change positions when they don't want to, so he played the year at receiver. I approached him again this winter about moving to tight end and he said, 'Yes. Yes. Yes.' He was really good with embracing the move. He's up to 238 now from 219. One thing about Deon is that he is tough. We had no questions that he could line up on the line and match up with a defensive end. He's put on the size and strength to get it done. He knows the nuances with the routes and can put pressure on teams downfield. Being a wide receiver, he knows how to do all those things and he has good ball skills."
On chance this will be last year of Ford Field hosting Little Caesars Pizza Bowl:
"I think it's up in the air from what I've heard from everybody. It's a great game. It's great for our league. It's going on it's 17th year and a lot of bowl games don't make it that long. Having participated in it last year, our coaches and players and fan base had a tremendous time."
On having built this roster the past few years:
"One of my biggest jobs, and I say this to my staff all the time, is that I am the general manager of our team. I'm not just the coach, I'm the general manager too. We need to make sure we bring in the right people. I have a heavy hand in it. It's something I do every day. I continue to look at our roster and I am very pleased with these last three recruiting classes we have put together. Our last one is big and athletic and has the chance to make a real impact. We're excited about what we've put together. I see growth and development in all phases. I see more depth. I see bigger guys. I see a bigger defensive line. They are bigger everywhere. That's the big thing. I think we are doing a good job of developing the younger guys. The older guys are typically playing now and the younger guys are redshirting and developing. They are waiting to get their turn. In college football, you can't take a year off in recruiting. You can't have a bad class because it will come back to bite you somewhere down the line. We work very hard and we are very thorough in who we bring in. It's fun watching these guys grow and develop."