Central Michigan running back Austin White has been indefinitely suspended from the football team.
White, a Michigan transfer, has been ineligible to play this season because of NCAA transfer rules. No further comments have been made by athletics officials.
Aside from the suspension, two captains, linebacker Mike Petrucci and nose guard John Williams are sidelined with injuries.
Head coach Dan Enos ruled Petrucci out for Saturday’s Homecoming game against Eastern Michigan and said he didn’t expect Williams to be able to take the field for the rest of the season, suffering from a lingering knee injury.
Enos spoke of the leadership of cornerback Taylor Bradley during the preseason, though a torn Achilles tendon has him sidelined for the season.
While the injured role players will still act as leaders off the field, the Chippewas defense is in need of players who will step up and take control on the field.
Jahleel Addae has done his part to pump up the defense with his big hits and energy at this point in the season.
“(Addae) is a vocal guy; he’s real loud,” Petrucci said. “He plays loud too, he hits hard and it really gives us an energy boost, especially the secondary.”
The junior leads the team with 56 tackles this season, adding three interceptions and a forced fumble to his stat sheet. He said he hopes his high energy on the field is contagious for his teammates.
“I like playing with energy and passion and I love the game,” Addae said. “I hope it spills over to my teammates. I would love the guys on the team to have the same juice and when they have juice it gives me juice.”
Taking a leadership position on the field is a heavier responsibility for the upperclassmen, but Petrucci said the young guys have caught on quick.
“It’s a little more stress on the older guys,” Petrucci said. “You’ve got to worry about where the younger guys are, but for the most part I think the younger guys have been catching on pretty well. (Ryan) Petro and Cody Lopez have been doing great all year.”
In five games, Lopez has recorded 25 tackles as a true freshman and Petro has added six.
Other leaders on the defensive side of the ball include seniors John Carr and Armond Staten, and juniors Lorenzo White, Steven Winston and Joe Kinville.
With nine first year players on the defensive depth chart this week, Enos expects to see the inevitable mistakes that freshmen make early on in their careers.
That being said, CMU’s defense is 10th in the MAC in total defense and last in pass defense.
“I think those guys have a lot of potential and a lot of ability,” Enos said. “It’s where they go from here that’s going to determine how they’ll compare to the other linebackers that have come out of here.”