Enos says young players have ‘gone from boys and started turning into men’
DETROIT — Last season, an avalanche of injuries resulted in 24 different players making their first career start for the Central Michigan football team, 10 of which were true freshmen.
In 2012, that experience should be a valuable asset to a team that has won just three games in each of its two seasons under head coach Dan Enos.
The growth of the youth on the team was one of the main talking points at Tuesday’s Mid-American Conference Media Day at Ford Field in Detroit.
“Our freshman class has been here a little more than a year now,” Enos said. “Most of those guys had to play with only six weeks of summer training last season. It’s nice to see their physical development from this time last season to now.”
Enos pointed out several players on the roster in which he’s seen a substantial amount of growth, including seniors like offensive lineman Eric Fisher and defensive back Jahleel Addae, but many of the players mentioned were young defensive players on the defensive side of the ball, an area where CMU finished eleventh in the conference a year ago.
Players like defensive lineman Matt Losiniecki, linebackers Cody Lopez and Ryan Petro and defensive backs Jarrett Chapman and Dennis Nalor should be much improved in 2012.
“Physically, they’ve gone from boys and started turning into men,” Enos said. “It’s been a great spring and summer with those guys. We’ve seen a lot of positive development with lots of our guys. Rick Perry, our strength and conditioning director, has done a great job.”
Enos added that the team’s demanding but structured offseason workout program was huge in the development of his players.
“Our guys work,” he said. “The program is demanding because it has to be. We don’t have time to get players in shape when they come to camp Aug. 2. That’s when we have a season to get ready for.”
Last year, the Chippewas’ young defense seemed overmatched at times, specifically when going up against some of the better competition on its schedule.
“Whenever you’re breaking in young talent it’s not a lot of fun,” Enos said. “For example, last year we lined up against North Carolina State with two true freshman defensive tackles and two true freshman linebackers in the middle. It was tough, but you have to keep the big picture in mind.”
That picture should be a little bit clearer in 2012 with last season’s growing pains in the rear view mirror.
“The experience those guys got last year is going to be very valuable to our football team,” Enos said. “You can practice all you want, but anytime you can bring back people with game experience it’s a big plus.”
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