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Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with Akron OL Kyle Ritz, LB Ulysees Gilbert III


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Akron offensive lineman Kyle Ritz (left) and linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III pose for a portrait on June 24 at Mid-American Conference Media Day.

Central Michigan Life's Evan Petzold spoke with Akron offensive lineman Kyle Ritz and linebacker Ulysees Gilbert III to preview Central Michigan's noon Oct. 27 game against the Zips at InfoCision Stadium.

Akron finished with a 7-7 (6-2, Mid-American Conference) record in 2017. The Zips lost in the MAC Championship Game to Toledo at Ford Field and played in the Boca Raton Bowl vs. Florida Atlantic.

The last time Akron took on CMU was Oct. 31, 2015. The Chippewas won the game on the road, 14-6.

Led by coach Terry Bowden, the Zips are off to a 3-3 (1-2 MAC) start to the season, losing to Iowa State, Miami (Ohio) and Buffalo. 

Throughout the 2018 season, offensive lineman Ritz has helped create time and space for quarterback Kato Nelson and running back Van Edwards Jr. The 6-foot-5, 315-pounder will be opposed by an injury-plagued CMU defensive line. 

Starting all six games, linebacker Gilbert leads the defense – 41 tackles, five tackles for a loss, one pass defended, two fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns. 

Ritz and Gilbert discuss preparing for a 1-7 overall Central Michigan team in this exclusive Q&A.

Kyle Ritz

Central Michigan Life: What do you know about Central Michigan? Do you remember anything from the 2015 game?

"I played one game against them. I remember going against defensive lineman Blake Serpa."

With CMU owning a 1-7 overall record, are you taking the Chippewas lightly?

"Any team that loses, you don't look at anything differently, but you take notice."

How do you prepare for a young, inexperienced CMU team?

"You're going to know who hasn't played and who is a veteran going in. When there's new transfers, you can't go back to last year's film. You have to dig deeper. 

Ulysees Gilbert III

Central Michigan Life: What do you know about Central Michigan? Do you remember anything from the 2015 game?

"I don't know too much about them. Last time we played them was my freshman year, and I was just on special teams. I'm really excited to play them, though."

Switching from Tony Poljan to Tommy Lazzaro at quarterback, has that made it difficult to scout CMU?

"At the end of the day, teams can change schemes every year. We have to just watch enough film. It's the same preparation for every team. They got experience in games prior with the new quarterback, so we have to prepare." 

How do you feel about CMU's 1-7 record this season? 

"You don't look at that stuff. When you do, you mess up. You have to look at them the same as any other schools. They are all college football players. They will prepare the same way I do and go to war."

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