ChippewaCountry recently had a chance to sit down with Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos to get his thoughts on the team prior to fall camp. The 2010 class has been on campus since early June and numerous Chippewa players have made substantial weight gains via summer workouts, all good signs as CMU prepares to defend their MAC title. With camp merely a week away, Coach Enos reflected on the team's progress in the spring and summer.
"We feel that we've had a very good summer, our summer school and strength and conditioning programs have had just about 100% attendance. That's been great and a real positive. That we have guys on campus doing that, and it's not mandatory, but their going in and doing a great job with our strength and conditioning staff, that's a very positive sign," added Enos.
"And that doesn't guarantee us anything, but it gives us a chance. We start fall camp next week and we'll find out a lot of things then. As you know, we've had several key guys out for the spring, Jeff Maddux, Jake Olson and John Williams, then Kito got banged up and really didn't practice all spring, so looking forward to getting all those guys back. Then when you inject our freshman tht have been on campus for four weeks now, so that excites us and we're going to have 105 guys come to camp and a lot of them we're seeing for the first time."
One of the major question marks heading into the season will be who is under center for Central Michigan after Dan LeFevour's departure. A starter has yet to be named, but recent rumblings has the vacant QB position down to two players: Redshirt sophomore Ryan Radcliff and junior JUCO transfer Brandon Fricke. When asked whether a QB battle between those two was on the horizon, Enos was quick to point out that the job will be an open competition.
"Well, we haven't see Brandon yet," laughed Enos. "Obviously we've seen him on tape a lot and everything and we know what type of ability he has, but a lot of that remains to be seen and he hasn't thrown a pass for us yet. Ryan Radclif has done a tremendous job and we're very happy with his development and Derek Rifenbury and A.J. Westendorp have both gotten better. But we recruited Brandon and he's been here all summer already, he's a guy who's very mature and that's why we brought him in because we didn't feel like we had enough older guys at that position and we obviously want to have depth at that critical position. But he's a worker, he's a hard worker and he's tough. It will be a battle for all four of those guys, so it will be interesting to see how it all plays out, but when we start camp Ryan will be in there with the ones."
Fricke was not the only player to arrive in the summer, as the incoming freshman class also began their first days of college football. Several 2010 recruits came to CMU as "athletes" and had yet to have a defined position, but they are positionless no more.
"Joe Wirth, we're going to start him at defensive end, Joe Sawicki will be at tight end, Caleb Southworth tight end, and Leterrious Walton, LT, he'll be at defensive tackle" said Enos.
The destination of Walton was particular interesting as Enos mentioned on signing day that both the offensive and defensive coaches were more than eager to add him on their respective side. For now, it appears the defense has won the services of Walton.
"Yeah they won the battle," laughed Enos. "But it's a battle every day. You know we can't do anything with them right now, but Leterrious is a guy who's 295 pounds and he was 6-foot-4 ¾ when they took his height the other day. Our players are coaching the players right now, we're not out there, and I just had a couple of players say to me in passing that LT was going to be good and I say why do you say that? And they say he's strong coach, and he really comes of the ball. So I really think he's a guy who has a great ceiling and his potential is very high. It may not be this year, but someday, and we're excited about him."
While the CMU staff has yet to have any form of coaching with the incoming freshman, Enos was able to point out a few underclassmen who impressed him during the spring.
"The freshman that are here, we haven't had a chance to see them at all, their just with our strength and conditioning staff right now," added Enos. "But some younger players that have impressed, maybe not a younger player but someone who is new is Taylor Bradely. He's been very impressive. Paris Cotton had a good spring and he continues to get better and better. Cody Wilson, a player I don't think is young because he played last season as a true freshman, but he's a young guy who continues to get better and better. Will Schwarz, Caesar Rodriguez, both defensive ends and those guys are really coming along. We're excited about getting Cody Pettit and Steve Winston back from injury. And then Armond Staten, Mike Petrucci, Alex Smith, those guys did a good job in the spring and we like where their development is heading. Then in the secondary you look at Jahleel Addae and Lorenzo White both stood out."
Enos touched base on the Chippewas health woes from the spring, but just about everyone is healed and ready to go once camp starts in a week.
"Good, real good," said Enos on the health of his team. "We've had a whole summer of healing and I think we'll be very healthy heading into camp. Then we just have to make sure we're smart as a staff, there's a fine line between to go through camp. We want to grind and toughen them up, but you also have to get them ready to play in the opener, so we'll find a good balance between that."
The 2010 season will officially begin when the Chippewas take the practice field on Friday. Look for updates and practice reports in the coming weeks.
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