September 27, 2009

Looking back at Saturday's win over Akron

Game Notes: Central Michigan vs. Akron

*Sean Murnane, Sam Williams and Matt Berning all played despite injury or illness. Butch Jones credited the training staff multiple times for getting the players ready to play.

*Cody Wilson started the game and he's really starting to see his playing time increase. He runs great routes and has the ability to pick up yards after the catch. CMU is going to have a hard time trying to keep him off the field.

*A new wrinkle that was used a lot against Akron was a three man defensive front with DEKashawn Fraser lined up as a blitzing linebacker. By my count, this play was run four times with the first play resulting in a forced fumble by Frank Zombo. Two of the other three plays resulted in sacks. Fraser proved to be a big time pass rusher from this formation and harassed Matt Rodgers when he was a stand up blitzer..

*Andrew Aguila did not have his finest day on special teams, and he knew it. The weather could have played a factor, but at this stage in his career, you just can't miss extra points.

*Larry Knight may not of had a great day statistically, but his senior leadership was on full display against Akron. On one particular play, Jahleel Addae started to confront an Akron player after a hard hit on special teams and as Knight came out for defense, he stepped in, took Addae aside and motioned him to the sideline. Little things like that start to add up.

*Nick Bellore was a little banged up and Berning substituted for him on nickel situations to give him a break. He was riding the bike in between series most of the time and had a slight limp. The injury is not thought to be serious.

*Daniel Jackson officially has a name for the back of his jersey now.

*With 4:36 seconds left in the first quarter, Akron had officially gained just 1-yard.

*The number one defensive unit for CMU allowed just 85 total yards all game.

*The run defense was once again very stout and they continue to make plays and clog the middle up. Critics have pointed at CMU's lack of size on the defensive line, but John Williams and Murnane have played about as well as you could and are athletic for the position.

*In the post game presser, quarterback Dan LeFevour noted that the interception was his fault and that he wished it was a ball he could have back.

*Relatively quiet day from Bryan Anderson. CMU only tried to go deep to him once and he was basically used a possession receiver.
*Official attendance was 20,032, a solid number for a rainy day, but still far below the expectations of the athletic department.

*Dan LeFevour had a total of 25 rushing attempts going into the game and had 19 in the game against Akron. Butch Jones indicated that it was definitely part of the game plan to have more designed runs and it really opened up the running game for the backs.

*The defense has been playing very well, and it's surprising considering they have forced only one interception and three fumbles through four games. Credit must be giving to the great tackling and improved coverage as the defense is stopping teams without turnovers.

*After Saturday's game against Akron, Berning is now the leading tackler with 32 total tackles. He is closely followed by Bellore with 29.

*Zombo and Berning both spoke after the game about how the defense is executing and playing with a lot of confidence. Last year, defensive coordinator Tim Banks took a lot of heat for the defensive performance, and they thought it was unnecessary. Looking at film last year, they said it would be one guy who would mess up and the onus was on the players, not the play call or the coaches. The difference between this year and last year is the execution.

*LeFevour on the new tackles Jake Olson and Rocky Weaver:

"They have been playing great, especially those tackles. Opposing teams have said a number of times how athletic they are, and their playing physical. That was an area of concern going into the year, but I think they've answered the call very well".

*Zombo noted that this is the closest team he has been around in his time as a Chippewa. A major reason that the defense has improved is the overall chemistry, and Zombo referred to the defense as a "brotherhood".

*Big recruiting weekend for both the football and basketball program. Among the football recruits visiting were 2010 commit Tyler Lombardo and 2010 OL prospect Connor Kruse.

Game Balls

Offense: Dan LeFevour
Defense: Matt Berning

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