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October 29, 2012CMU head coach Dan Enos spoke with the media on Monday in his weekly MAC media teleconference, addressing several key topics prior to the Chippewas game against WMU on Saturday.
On 35-14 victory over Akron
"Well, I thought we ran the ball very well, especially in the second half. I thought our defense played very opportunistic in holding Akron to 14 points. Akron did a very good job of moving the ball between the 40's and between the 20's, but we had a couple fourth down stops in the red zone that were crucial. It's good to see our defense play better. We forced two turnovers and didn't turn it over on offense. When we did pass the ball, we had the big plays. Titus Davis had a couple of touchdowns. When we can run the ball and then play-action to throw the ball, we are a much better football team. it was nice to get a win."
On what got the ball rolling offensively
"The week before, (Tipton) had 17 carries for 126 yards against Ball State and with the way the game went, we just couldn't get him enough carries because we were playing from behind. This week we had a lead and were able to get him the number of carries that we'd like to. Zurlon's having a very good year, I think he is averaging almost seven yards per carry on the season. He's been good for us all season and we wanted to get him the ball more. We were playing with the lead, gaining yards on first down and second down and not getting behind the chains. We were able to stay ahead of the chains a little more. The formula just worked this week. We'd like to be able to do that every week, but that doesn't always happen."
On whether the Akron game gave the team some confidence going forward
"Absolutely. We're just trying to get a little momentum and win some games. I like our team. We work hard and we're still not perfect by any means. We still have a lot of work to do and a lot of developing to do as a program, but I like the way our players work. It was nice to see them have some success and get a win because they work hard. This is a tough game and they put a lot in each and every week. To come up with a win this week is big for everyone in our program."
On what he sees from Western Michigan
"Well, this is a huge week. What I see is not a 3-6 football team, I'll tell you that. They've been in every game and they are extremely well-coached on both sides of the ball. I've looked at what they've done offensively over the last couple of years and have been very impressed. They use their people very well and have good schemes. It's going to be a challenge. I think their quarterback is playing very well. He is a good player, very athletic and has a strong arm. Their offensive line is physical and I like their backs. Defensively, they give you so many looks with the 3-4 scheme and the four-down look. Then they have their double-angle looks with the center and guard covered. They play a lot of man coverage back there and give you a lot of problems. They've been in every game and just had a break here or there go in a couple different directions. If they were above .500, they'd probably think a lot differently about their year. But as far as this week goes, you can throw the records out. It doesn't matter if either teams are 9-0 or both teams are 0-9, it's going to be a dog fight. It's going to be a great, physical football game. It's a great rivalry. I'm very privileged and very proud to be a part of it."
On the CMU/WMU rivalry
"This is as intense of a rivalry as I've been in during the years I've been coaching. Being at Michigan State with the Michigan game, this is every bit as intense as that. It's an awesome game. Both teams are very passionate about playing one another and the fan bases are very passionate about it. It's fun. It's great for college athletics in general to have games like this. It's going to be nice to have a 1:00 game on Saturday and right now it looks like it is going to be a nice, sunny day. It's great for both teams, it's great for the fans and it's great for college football. It's an honor to be a part of it."
On the benefit of having this four-game homestand
"We've kind of gotten into a routine now with everything. It's been good. Our players know now what to expect on Sundays and Mondays and Tuesdays. I know that is a little thing, but for a young team that is kind of a nice thing to be able to get into a rhythm here and a routine."
On the development of Zurlon Tipton
"He's kind of an interesting story. When I first got here, Zurlon really had some challenges on the field and off the field with maturity. He went through some growing pains his first year. Give credit to our running backs coach Kort Shankweiler and the other coaches in our program. We saw a guy who had a really good heart and was a really good person and could be a good player, but he was underachieving in a lot of the things he was doing in his life. Not just football, but things off the field. So we hit it head-on and had some issues with certain things, but give Zurlon credit because he has really grown and matured as a person the last two years he has been here. Last year, he turned it around academically and turned it around with his attitude and work ethic. Last year, we were expecting him to have the year that he is having this year, but he broke his foot in the Kentucky game. He really started doing things right on the field and off the field. It's unfortunate he had the injury at Kentucky and had surgery. Then he tried to come back a little too early in our last couple of games last year and wasn't himself. You could see that. This year, he has gotten himself to a point where he is doing everything right. He works hard and is a leader on our team. He's done a '180' from where he was when we got here. He sets the example for the younger players. He's positive, has a tremendous work ethic and is doing things right in the classroom. As a coach, this is why most guys coach. Obviously, he loves football and you love those things, but just being around young people and watching a story like this. A young man who comes in and is maybe a little immature, but he sees that and sees what his future could be. He has an opportunity to be here on a scholarship and he is making the most of it now. It's very rewarding as coaches to see that and obviously the things that happen on the field are just a bonus for us. We're excited about him and I think he is going to continue to have a very good year and have another year next year. He is going to be a good player."
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