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2011 Pre-Season Preview: Central Michigan Chippewas

2010 Record: (3-9, 2-6 in MAC)

Head Coach: Dan Enos (3-9 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2009 Season GMAC Bowl: Beat Troy in OT 44-41

2010 Pre-Season Preview Link


9/1: South Carolina State

9/10: at Kentucky

9/17: at Western Michigan (2010 result: won 26-22)

9/24: at Michigan State (2009 result: won 29-27)

10/1: Northern Illinois (2010 result: lost 33-7)

10/8: at North Carolina State

10/15: Eastern Michigan (2010 result: won 52-14)

10/22: at Ball State (2010 result: lost 31-17)

10/29: at Akron (2009 result: won 48-21)

11/4: at Kent State

11/10: Ohio (2009 result: won 20-10)

11/18: Toledo (2010 result: lost 42-31)

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 24.4 ppg (6th in MAC, 82nd in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 105.75 yds/game (11th in MAC, 108th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 284.0 yds/game (2nd in MAC, 17th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 389.8 yds/game (3rd in MAC, 49th in Nation)

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 26.0 ppg (7th in MAC, 60th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 171.92 yds/game (10th in MAC, 81st in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 205.1 yds/game (3rd in MAC, 39th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 377.0 yds/game (8th in MAC, 66th in Nation)

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: -0.92 per game (last in MAC, 113th in Nation)

Penalties: 51.6 yds/game (8th in MAC, 62nd in Nation)

Returning Starters:

Offense: 7

Defense: 6

Kicker/Punter: 1

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Ryan Radcliff, Jr (282 of 466 for 3358 yds, 17 TD, 17 INT)

Rushing: Paris Cotton, Sr (142 for 651, 4.5 ypc, 6 TD)

Receiving: Cody Wilson, Jr (83 rec for 1137 yds, 5 TD)

Tackles: Jahleel Addae, Jr (80)

Sacks: John Williams, Sr; Joe Kinville, Jr (2.5)

Interceptions: Avery Cunningham, Soph (1)

Central Michigan had a dramatic drop-off from 2009 to 2010 as they fell from 12-2 to 3-9. Without QB Dan LeFevour and Head Coach Butch Jones the Chippewas were unable to find the magic from the previous season and fell on hard times. Central Michigan actually started out pretty good as they went 2-1 in their first 3 games. They destroyed Hampton and Eastern Michigan and lost a nail-biter to Temple by 3 points in OT. But it was all downhill from there as they dropped 8 of their last 9. We reached out to Kyle Warber, who covers the Chippewas for MLive and, to find out if the 2011 Central Michigan Chippewas can turn the corner. You can also follow Kyle on Twitter @FireUpChips.

Central Michigan took a huge step back last year as they went 3-9 in 2010 after posting a 12-2 record in 2009. What were the biggest issues with last years team that need to be addressed in order for them to be successful this year?

Former players Dan LeFevour and Antonio Brown were like that pill Bradley Cooper took in the movie "Limitless" that allowed him to use 100 percent of his brain. Central Michigan's players, coaches, and administrators were getting all this credit for being super talented/savvy when it really came down to being lucky enough to have two once-in-a-lifetime-talents boosting their potential. Once LeFevour and Brown moved on, CMU was back to using 20 percent of its brain and a 3 - 9 season ensued. The biggest issue last year was the lack of talent, and the fact that CMU's coaching staff was assembled out of coaches who wanted to be the next Brian Kelly or Butch Jones (move on and get paid) and never displayed any passion for being at CMU. I think the new coaches -- several assistant coaches bailed for bigger pay days in January -- look promising, but the biggest issue that needed to be addressed, more talent, is probably another year away from coming to fruition.

After going 3-9 in his first year is Dan Enos on the hot seat already and what does he need to do better this year?

It's hard to have a problem with your old clunker when you don't have the resources to buy a new car even if you wanted to. I think Dan Enos got 12 crash courses on "How to be a Head Football Coach" last year, and based on that training, he has a better handle on what it takes to be the CEO of a football team. But Enos arguably lost four of his best players to graduation and the NFL this year, so despite his marked improvement, he will need a lot of luck to do better than a 6 - 6 season.

For those that don't follow the MAC that closely...tell us a little about the best players on this team.

The best player on the team is safety Jahleel Addea. A junior, Addea is explosive, and cleans up a lot of messes when players get through Central Michigan's first line of defense. Another player I like is offensive lineman Eric Fisher who was talented enough to play as a true freshman during CMU's 2009 championship season. Fisher can play guard, tackle, or even center.

Who are some newcomers that can come in and immediately help this year?

I was an outspoken critic of Dan Enos' recruiting philosophy of GPA and character over talent. While that might be a shallow opinion to have, look where that philosophy has gotten Harvard, Vanderbilt, or  Northwestern in the world of college football. I think you need to strike a balance between both academics and raw talent, because in the MAC, you will rarely find a player with both. I don't think any of the players CMU recruited will be ready to start in 2011, however, due to injuries and attrition in the secondary, a player likely Courtney Williams, Denis Nalor, or Stefon Armstead will be called to play defensive back this fall.

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games for Central Michigan this year?

Central Michigan has despised rival Western Michigan on Sep. 17 in Kalamazoo. To lose that game so early, would demoralize the team and make it tough going forward throughout the season.  Losing to Northern Illinois or Toledo at home would also make the road to a MAC Championship very improbable.

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

I think 6 - 6 is a best case scenario given the level of competition in the MAC (CMU doesn't have the best QB anymore), the penchant of Dan Enos to lose to lesser opponents like we did last year against Ball State and Bowling Green (at home), and the shaky level of talent at key positions for the Chippewas. Taking into account that Enos won't be fired no matter how he does due to the cash strapped state of a Rust Belt school like CMU, as long as he can improve on the 3 - 9, his supporters in the university and among the fans, will call 4 - 8, or 5 - 7 "progress." In other words, it is very possible the fans will be served a cold lump of Spam again in 2011 while at the same time having the athletic department describe it in words best reserved for a Ruth's Crisp Porterhouse: "exotic" "flavorful" "wonderful" "exquisite."  I hope the fans don't get fooled again and will be willing to call Spam...Spam, if that's what is put in front of them. However, If Enos does pull off a great turn around like Miami (Ohio) last year, and if we do get the team we deserve after three MAC Championships in four years, Enos should get all the credit and you won't hear anybody sing his praises louder than me. Fire Up Chips!

Next Preview: North Texas

Previous 2011 Pre-Season Previews:

MAC- Buffalo


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