Enos calls experienced offensive line strength of team
Central Michigan head coach Dan Enos said the offensive line is the strength of the football team during the Mid-American Conference Media Day on July 24.
Seniors Eric Fisher, Darren Keyton, Jake Olson and Mike Repovz started every game they were healthy for on the offensive line last season. Offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Mike Cummings called them the core of the offensive line.
“We have a core of four that will be back, and we lost one from last year – Rocky Weaver,” he said. “Just the experience factor right there is a lot of it.”
Fisher – third team All-MAC last season – said he was excited to hear his coach say that about his position group.
“That excites me,” he said. “But we’ve earned it. We’ve been together so long, we know what each other is doing because of our chemistry.”
That chemistry helped keep senior Ryan Radcliff the fourth-least sacked quarterback in the MAC in 2011. In sacks-per-pass attempted, that offensive line was the second best in the MAC.
Fisher said the seniors on the offensive line love to open holes and get the run game going, too. Cummings said he is planning on a balanced attack rushing and passing, which would keep the defenses guessing.
“With the strength of the offensive line, you’d like to say we are going to run it more or have more time to throw it,” Cummings said. “But I think all those things get combined. We’re not going to go heavily with either pass or run. We’re going to stay fairly balanced.”
The “core four” have started a combined 87 games over the past three seasons, but, due to injury, there have been several younger offensive linemen to see playing time.
The line’s chemistry helps the run game as well, according to redshirt junior Zurlon Tipton.
“We’re very, very comfortable with each other,” he said. “We’re close too, even off the field. We spend time with each other. I think it’s good that you build that, because I know I can trust them on the field and they can trust me on the field, and whatever the defense throws at us, we can handle it.”
Enos talked about there being plenty of experience on the line with 10 players who saw action on the offensive line last season. His coordinator reiterated the importance of experience.
“Game experience is huge,” Cummings said. “You can have an older player, but if he hasn’t played in games, it’s a lot different when you go out there for the first time.”
Redshirt Sophomore Kevin Henry started the last four games last season at right tackle. Junior Jeff Fantuzzi didn’t make a start last season but played in every game.
“I’m more confident,” Cummings said. “I mean, we have had more guys that have played, so I feel more comfortable if we have to put one in.”
Eric Fisher - 6-foot-8, 305-pound senior, Rochester
2011 – Third team All-MAC, started 10 games at left tackle, missed last two with injury.
2010 – Started nine games.
2009 – Appeared in eight games as a freshman, started two at left tackle.
Darren Keyton - 6-foot-3, 300-pound senior, Traverse City
2011 – Started first seven games at center, started at right guard final five games.
2010 – Started at right guard for eight games.
2009 – Made three starts at center, played in every game.
Jake Olson - 6-foot-8, 300-pound senior, Hardford, Wisc.
2011 – Started first seven games at right tackle, missed three games with injury, then started final two at left tackle.
2010 – Started at left tackle first three games, suffered season ending injury.
2009 – Started every game at left tackle as a redshirt freshman.
Mike Repovz - 6-foot-5, 290-pound senior, Lansing
2011 – Started every game left guard.
2010 – Finished the season with five starts at right tackle.
2009 – Played in six games.
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