Part Two: Dan Enos quotes from Tuesday's MAC Media Day at Ford Field
I will complete Enos' stuff Friday plus this weekend and into next week I'll blog quotes from several other coaches as well as MAC Commissioner Jon Steinbrecher.
Also, Monday's Morning Sun will feature a Q &A with CMU seniors Zurlon Tipton and Avery Cunningham, both of which took part in the media day festivities.
Without further adieu, more from Coach Enos:
After last season's finish, what is the mindset of the team going into the 2013 campaign?
"Our players are very proud of the way they finished. To play in a bowl game and win the third bowl game in the history of the school, it was great to see that. They have the understanding just by looking around the room that they have the opportunity to be a very good football team. But what happened last year is in the past. We are starting anew and we have to work. We have to provide leadership and I think our guys had a very productive offseason. We are excited to get going."
With sites like Rivals.com and Scout.com and so many recruiting tools, is there more pressure on recruiting on a day-to-day basis?
"We have a process and a system we use with every recruit. We go through it and are thorough every day. We have outstanding relationships with coaches and our approach has stayed the same. We believe in our system and it works well for us. There are certainly more tools to use nowadays, but I think if you change too much in the way that has been working for you it can take you off course."
What has it been like for the program having Eric Fisher go No. 1 in the 2012 NFL Draft?
"It's been pretty neat. Everywhere I go, there have been people talking to me about the bowl win or Eric Fisher. For our players, I'm sure it has been the same for them. It's been cool to see the added exposure for the program. It's a real positive. To have Eric Fisher go No. 1 in the NFL Draft, it proves that you can come here and accomplish your dream. You can come here and be an All-American. If you want to play in a bowl game, you can do that here. When we talk to recruits, we ask them what they want. Do you want to graduate? We can make that happen here. You want to play in a bowl game? We can do that. Do you want to be an NFL first round pick? It's happened here. It doesn't guarantee anything, but we can say that we've done that."
Is Zurlon Tipton going to be relied on more in the early going as a quarterback gets settled in?
"You know, I think the running game is going to be a big part of our offense but ultimately we really want to stay balanced. When we put our winning streak together through the bowl game, we had a strong running game that complemented the passing attack. Our defense also stepped up to keep our scores down. That's going to be the formula every year. Run the ball effectively to set up everything else and play good defense. Zurlon is going to be important and he knows that. If we need to count on him to have a big game, then we'll do that. It starts with a solid running attack and our play-action works off of that."
How is this year different for Zurlon with more attention on him from a national scale?
"I think it plays in somewhat that everybody knows who he is now. But I think the way he started to play last year really showed his ability and brought notice upon him. I'll tell you one thing, we are really good at wideout. We're always going to have some playmakers to the outside. So pick your poison. If you want to load the box up and stop Zurlon, we've got Titus Davis and Andrew Flory and Courtney Williams plus others to the outside that can really do some damage."
Titus Davis, Courtney Williams, and Defarrel Davis ended last season on a sour note with the bowl game suspension. Are all three back in good graces right now?
"Yes they are."
What are your thoughts on Western Michigan's hiring of P.J. Fleck as its head coach?
"I don't have any comment on that."
Any additional thoughts on playing mid-week games?
"I don't mind it. It's a national TV game. As you get later in the season I think it goes without saying that Sunday and Monday is the NFL, then Tuesday through Friday you are still going to be able to see a game. Everyone is getting their fix seven days a week. I think even Commissioner Steinbrecher said that some of the bigger conferences are looking to play more mid-week games because of the opportunity to be the only game on and the only show in town. Everyone in the country will turn your game on and watch it. My whole thing with mid-week games is this: Just don't make us play it on short rest. I think that puts the kids at risk. You want to talk about safety rules with targeting? Well, let's not make a young man play a football game and then five days later, playing another mid-week game without the rest. Football is a game that requires some rest between games. So make sure both teams are on equal footing and the same amount as rest as possible. If we have to play on six days, make sure they play on six days too. If they have a 12-day break and we have five, that isn't fair. Other than that, they're great. Just make sure everyone has rest and the student-athletes are safe. That's my number one concern is that people are playing tired."
What are your thoughts on the first game at Michigan and the program Coach Hoke has put together there?
"I have the utmost respect for their program. Brady Hoke and his staff have done a great job in their time there and Coach Hoke is a class act. He does things the right way and they have a tremendous program obviously. There have been some great stories over the years about what Michigan football has accomplished. But it's going to be a great opportunity for our team. and we're excited about it. I think it's going to be great for our football team to go play in that environment the opening week. We are going to be on national TV and there are going to be 100,000 people in the stands. Go figure it out. Whoever is going to be the guy under center better be ready to go because you are going in the toughest environment as far as atmosphere goes that you are going to get to compete in. I think it will be a great test and a good opportunity."