CMU head coach Dan Enos addressed the media after the Chippewas' first fall practice of 2013 on Monday. Among other things, he talked about the quarterback competition and how the true freshmen are holding up.
On the true freshmen
All of them have impressed within the conditioning test. Mark Chapman made some plays today in practice. Josh Cox looked very good at corner. Our young defensive linemen looked good. Joe Ostman ran the conditioning today like I haven't seen from a true freshman in a long time, maybe ever. We've got six offensive linemen in this group. They're all big and athletic, but they're swimming right now. Gary Jones looked good. Darrien Boone is getting better. There were a lot of positives. We think it's very good group.
On the conditioning testWe run 20 half-gassers. There are certain times that they have to make and a certain amount of rest between each. We only make the freshman run 12 because it's their first time doing it, but a lot of them did 20 anyways since they've already been here for six weeks and they're in that good of condition. That includes Tyree Waller, Zach Crouch, Josh Cox, Joey Ostman, Mark Chapman and Jeff Perry.
On the quarterbacksThey all got equal reps today. They all at some point looked pretty good. We still have to look at the film, but I thought Cody Kater was very good and was very good in the two-minute drill. Alex Niznak looked good and Cooper (Rush) had some good moments too. They're all very focused. They all know what's at stake and like I keep telling them, whoever wins the job will have earned it.
On if he's been around a quarterback competition like this at any pointI've been around two and sometimes, three guys competing. Usually, what you kind of hope for is that somebody kind of separates themselves and that's what happens a lot of times. There's really no exact formula to it. You just have to let them play it out. We have a lot of experience on our staff that has been through these types of situations before between Morris Watts, Mike Cummings, Mose Rison and myself. All of us have been through these things at a lot of different places.
On telling two quality quarterbacks that they aren't the starterPlaying quarterback, you realize at a young age that there's only one guy on each team. I started playing in fifth grade and it doesn't take you long to figure that out. That's the kind of life they picked and lead. It's difficult at times because you have to tell guys that have worked extremely hard that they're not going to start. What they have to do is continue to work every day and be very diligent at making themselves better. Athletics is all about opportunities. You never know when you're going to get your opportunity, but you have to prepare yourself, so that when you do get it, you don't lay an egg, that you take advantage of your opportunity. I think a guy named Dan LeFevour wasn't named the starter one season. Then somebody got hurt and he came in and took advantage of his opportunity. That's the key. When you do get your chance, you make the most of it and you'll get more opportunities.
On Kyle ZelinskyHe's a great young man. He brings great energy; he ran all 20 half-gassers this morning. He looked really good. We're very excited to have him back.
On Jeremy GainerHe looked good today too; looked great running and in some of the team things. He looked explosive and strong. I think he's going to help us.
On potential pass rushersAlex Smith was back. He ran this morning and looked good today. Louis Palmer has dropped down to 265 pounds. He ran today and looked good. Kenny McClendon looked good. And Jeremy (Gainer) as I mentioned. We've got guys. And we've got some young guys that we like too.
On the cornerbacksThey all looked good. All the corners that are competing are in good shape - Dennis Nalor, Jason Wilson, Brandon Greer, Jordan Fields, Stefon Armstead - they all looked good. We have a young kid, Josh Cox, that really impressed me today. He's very quick, has very good hips, and is 197 pounds, so he's got very good size and a good lower body. He had an interception today; he has good ball skills. We really like that group.
On return game candidatesPunt returns: Titus Davis, Saylor Lavallii and Andrew Flory are a few guys. Tony Annese was back there today. Those are probably the main guys right now. And then on kick returns, it will probably be Saylor and Courtney Williams again. Martez Walker and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore could be back there too. That's the nice thing about the way we've recruited. We've got a lot of guys that are capable of returning punts and kicks. We feel we have a lot of skill. We'll keep developing guys too because we've got young guys who can return too, like Mark Chapman, Wesley Thomas, Eric Cooper and Corey Willis. Those guys all returned in high school as well.
On Jerry HarrisJerry looked good today. He caught a post. He looked fast and he looked strong. He's been around and he's been mature. Jerry has been a good leader for that group and he had a good day today. We're hoping he can get his confidence back because I think he can help us.
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