Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos and select players spoke to the media following his teams 30-16 victory over Miami (OH). The win put the Chippewas at 5-6 overall, and a win over MAC newcomer Massachusetts next week will make them bowl eligible. Look below for a transcript of the postgame press conference.
CMU head coach Dan Enos
First off I wanted to say how happy we are for our seniors to win their last home game. Its something that we have been talking about all week, we started talking about it last Sunday on how we wanted to make it special for them and to make sure the last time they are on that field that it would be a good memory for them. I thought we got outstanding play from a lot of players, a lot of them being seniors. I thought our defense played well, they were very optimistic, got pressure on the quarterback and got some turnovers against a very good team. I've talked about all week on what I think about Zac Dysert. I have tremendous amount of respect for him as a person and as player and I knew it was going to be tough to try to slow him down. I thought our defense played very well.
Offensively we were inconsistent but when we needed to play we did. We ran the ball when we needed to and I thought our guys played physical. Our quarterback probably didn't play as well as he has the last 4 or 5 weeks, but with that being said for us to be able to win the game means a lot. We are growing in the fact that our quarterback doesn't have to go out there and throw for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns to win. We can run the football when he is not playing as well as he has but he picked it up and we are very happy with the win.
On if he felt the pressure from the D-line rattled Dysert
I don't think so. He has played a lot of football. He's been hit a lot. One thing I was impressed with Zac Dysert was his toughness. My first year here when they won the MAC he had a injury and tried to play through it and then last year watching the video of common opponents he got hit a lot and stayed in the games. I don't know if you can rattle that guy. He is a tough competitor and a very good player. But I know what we did do was we were able to get him off schedule a little bit with the pressure and sacks. When a team throws the ball that much and that well that's what you have to do.
On the resilience of this team after losing to Western Michigan
Yeah these last two games really shows that especially the seniors. I've said all along that I love this team. We love coaching them. They work hard and do things right. The seniors are good leaders and that's really how they have been all year. They haven't wavered at all year after wins or defeats. When you look back on it we were down 14-0 against Eastern at the start and so that is a great testament to our team, to the coaches and to the players on how they battled through that and found a way to win on the road over Eastern and to regroup and win today says a lot about their character and toughness. I'm very proud of them. We got one more and some unfinished business. All we can control is to make sure we prepare this week and play well against UMass Friday.
On how big the drive was after Miami brought the score to 21-16
It was huge. We did it last week to so it's great to see. That was really a key point of the game to go down there and score again. We had some big plays from guys on that play. The true freshman Saylor Lavallii had the most touches in the game and everyone can see how special of a player he will be here. Him and Zurlon complemented each other really well today.
On the pressure the defensive line was able to get
Really since the Akron game we have done a much better job at pressuring the quarterback. Even in the Western Michigan game I thought we had pressure. We had a couple of blitzes were guys didn't time out the blitz and would have been there. Today guys blitzed on time and even if they didn't get a sack they were pushing the pocket back. I think it's been a lot of different things. Guys like Avery and Jahleel are learning how to blitz better and I think we have gotten better at it with the linebackers, players like Blake Serpa has played well. Caesar Rodriguez continues to have a great year for us and Leterrius Walton is getting better and so is Jabari Dean. Our defense is getting better as the year goes on it seems.
On the red zone stops
It was one of the keys to the game. When we lost to Western Michigan we didn't score touchdowns in the red zone. We would move down the field and couldn't score. I think that's one thing Miami will look at and see they weren't as productive in the red zone. That's the one thing about defense, you can give up yards but at the end of the day if you can stop them and force them to kick a field goal and you are able to do that a couple times, good things usually happen.
On how different guys step up every week on offense
Its great. Offensively we want to get Zurlon touches and Titus but the way the offense works it could be anybody. It could be Andrew Flory, Saylor Lavallii, Connor Odykirk who had a touchdown catch, Ben McCord has a touchdown catch, and Caleb Southworth has made big catches. That's why you recruit so you can have those guys step up and be ready to go. We feel really good about our young players and we don't have any problem with putting them in there.
He is a great player. We knew going into this game that Dysert and Harwell were great players. Harwell has been a great player for three years now. They do a good job of moving him around and getting him out in space. The big difference in the game was that they had 36 rushes for 74 yards and we had 36 rushes for 184 yards. I think at the end of the day that is why we won. We were able to run the ball and score in the red zone. When you get down to the red zone it hard to just keep throwing the ball in there. The defensive backs don't have any were to defend anymore and you really have to execute at a high level to throw the ball down there. I've had coaches tell me for the past 20 years that if you want to do well in the red zone to run the ball. That's what we ended up doing today and why we were so effective.
On if he has concerns about his team overlooking UMass
No, we have one game left that we are guaranteed. We can only control one thing and that's winning this week. Believe me our team won't over look anybody. We are a blue collared bunch of guys that are trying to scratch and claw and to get any win we can. The great thing is that we won today and when I come in tomorrow I wont have to put in much work to motivate them, I mean I haven't had to all year but they are going to come in chomping at the bite to get to work so we can try to make sure we play well Friday.
Senior defensive end Caesar Rodriguez
On why the defensive line has been able to get more pressure over the past couple of weeks
During practice we have emphasized it a little bit more. We know we can stop the run and did very well against the run today so if we know we can stop the run we can sharpen our skills on putting pressure on the quarterback.
On being voted as player of the game
I mean, I'm only player of the game because of the rest of the defense. If it's not for those guys I don't get any plays or sacks. If the defensive backs aren't covering long enough, I cant get to the quarterback. Without them I am nothing.
On what he is going to remember most
Just playing with the guys that you have gone to work with for four years, and seeing the young players grow, it's just a great experience overall. Having the best band and fan base, so it can't get much better than that.
On the defensive strides they have made towards the end of the year
Yeah our defense overall is playing well together. I think the younger players are getting more experience and that is helping, and the older guys are stepping up.
Senior safety Jahleel Addae
On how big this win was
My last game, so it's special to me. I've had a lot of good memories from the past five years I've been here. They are memories I can walk away from and be proud of. Bowl eligibility is one of our goals we had back in August. We have to come back tomorrow and get back to work.
On what he is going to remember most
Central Michigan has a loud student section and playing with the guys you go to work with everyday, it's just been something special.
On what he saw on his interception
It was a quarterback sprint out and the defensive line had good pressure. I dropped back into the flats and turned around and as the ball was coming Jarett (Chapman) made a good break on the ball and deflected it, and it popped into my hands.
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