UMass head coach Charley Molnar spoke to the media on Monday in his weekly MAC teleconference, giving his thoughts about the Chippewas prior to their game on Friday night.
On what he sees out of CMU
"Number one, looking at their offense.... they have three really, really good football players. Number one is their quarterback, Ryan Radcliff. Each year as the starter he has gotten better and better. They have two receivers. The one guy, Cody Wilson, he reminds us in Massachusetts of Wes Welker. He's quick, he's got great hands when receiving the football and he's dynamic with the football in his hands. He's really impressive. Then the running back (Zurlon Tipton) is big, he's rushed for over 1,000 yards. He's like an NFL running back out there. They've got a very good offensive line, a good running back and certainly Dan has done a good job of putting together his kind of offense and gotten his kind of people in place. It's going to be a real challenge for us. Then on defense, the one guy that really sticks out to us is the safety Jahleel Addae. He's around the ball all the time. Every play you look and see him there. So we've got our work cut out for us Friday, no question about it."
On the transition from the FCS to the FBS
"Well, I knew the transition was going to be difficult. Any time you take a group of young men from one level of football to a higher level, there are going to be some growing pains. I think from an administrative standpoint, we were ready for the move. They knew what the commitment had to be from that end. But the players, I don't think they had any idea. I don't think they had any idea about the stadiums they were going to be walking into, the caliber of competition. They had played some guaranteed games in the past, so they knew what big-time football looked like in the stadiums. But I don't think they expected this kind of competition on the field. When you go and play any of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference versus any of the other guaranteed games, the level of competition is going to be almost the same. The venues are a little bit smaller and the crowds are a little smaller, there's not much difference with the competition on the field. I think that was a real eye-opener for them. Some of our guys were recruited as FCS players and haven't been developed yet to their maximum physical potential. They have a ways to go. We're a young football team and quite frankly we've been outmatched some games. That's just the way it is. But we are a hard-working group of guys. We work really hard in the weight room and some guys have made some miraculous gains. We're hoping the rest of the team can catch up so we are ready for 2013."
On the keys versus Central Michigan
"Offensively, they are very diverse. In my mind, they have two really good receivers in addition to the big running back. So we need to stop the run without committing so many guys that we get shredded in the pass game. That balance on defense is critical. The guys need to make sure they play their gaps and they are gap sound. Don't try to do too much, just try to do their job and stay under control. On offense, we just have to sustain drives. We don't have to score every series. It would sure be nice if we could, but we need to use the clock. I think what really hurt us against Buffalo is that we were just worn out. Our defense was just on the field too much. So if we are able to sustain drives offensively and we are sure capable of doing that, we'll have a shot. We need to do better with our pass protection and not have breakdowns. We need to make sure we are assessing our schemes throughout the game. Make sure we have the right guys fitted in the right places. Of course, we have to make plays. We have to have our quarterback be a little more precise against the pass defense. Just the normal things that every football team needs to do. Those will be the keys for us on Friday."
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