Not only has the football team lost six of its first nine games this season, but it has seemingly lost the interest of its fan base.
Whether you talk to students or alumni, the outlook of the program looks bleak. At the season’s beginning, it looked as though head coach Dan Enos had the perfect picture set up to redeem himself and quiet those asking for his removal.
Coming off back-to-back 3-9 seasons, year three looked like it could be different for the coach, criticized from the start after bringing the pro-style offense to a team that had much success with the spread-offense.
With seven home games on schedule, including a morale-booster to open the season against Southeast Missouri State, big names like Michigan State and Navy and a weak finale against conference-newcomer Massachusetts, he was set.
Not only that, but Enos had a three-year starter in senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff. He had a senior-laden offensive line, a senior wideout whose name paints the school record book and two sophomore receivers who showed definite potential last season.
In terms of defense, CMU was young last year but earned experience to carry over onto the field this season, led by senior safety Jahleel Addae, who led the team in tackles and the MAC in interceptions in 2011.
When a talented team fails to wins, the blame is on the leadership: in this case, Enos and his coaching staff.
Defensive coordinator Joe Tumpkin’s defense has allowed 36.9 points per game, including more than 40 points in four games. Not to mention the 458.8 total offensive yards given up per game.
Enos himself made some key points following Saturday’s loss to rival Western Michigan.
“Ultimately, I thought we had a lot of chances to win the game,” he said. “… I thought our guys played with great effort … I thought that Ryan Radcliff played outstanding and thought for the most part our offense played very well.”
That’s what we’re talking about?
This is Division 1 football with a head coach who’s being paid more than $250,000.
Effort is something that is mentioned in high school football games; it’s mentioned in pee-wee football games. But when someone is a D-1 coach, you’d expect they would have some fire and passion after a tough loss against a rival.
That seems to be lacking during Enos’ third year.
In regards to the up-and-down play of the defense, Enos said, “That’s been kind of the story of our defense the entire season. We play well in spurts, but we don’t play consistently well.”
In summary, the team has had chances to win, and players have shown the effort. Offensively, the team has been impressive at times, and, defensively, it’s been inconsistent.
Not to mention, CMU has been plagued with low attendance numbers all season, failing to reach attendance exceeding 15,500 in five of six home games.
Next year, the team will be led by a first-year starting quarterback with an inexperienced front five. It will lose four defensive backs, four defensive linemen, a wide out, a kicker and a punter, who all played large roles this season.
It will inevitably be another rebuilding year, but there are only so many times a team can claim to “rebuild” until the leadership must be held accountable for the poor performance of the team.
If any administrator on campus continually showed poor performance and lack of improvement, they would face removal from their position, and this shouldn’t be any different.
Regardless of the outcome of the final three games, it’s time for the athletic department to seriously re-evaluate the leadership of the football team and Enos’ leadership — or lack thereof.