Random Spring Thoughts: C.M.U.
By Paul Myerberg // Apr 9, 2011
Using a combination of various computer programs and the Internet — a task nearly beyond my limited computing skills — I selected 25 F.B.S. teams at random. Teams lucky enough to have been randomly selected will be reviewed with several random thoughts as we enter the heart of spring practice. Up next: Central Michigan, which now asks credential media personnel to sleep with the fishes.
Let me tell you something about Kyle Warber, who covers Central Michigan football for MLive.com: he won’t take an injustice lying down. Consider the case of “Fire Up Chips,” a phrase the university uses in its marketing which also doubles as the name of Warber’s C.M.U. sports blog. In late December, after Warber penned several articles questioning the direction of the program under first-year coach Dan Enos, the university informed MLive.com that it must cease and desist from using that name — roughly five years after the blog first debuted. So what did Warber do about that?
First, Warber likened C.M.U.’s foolhardy stance to a scene from “The Godfather,” where rivals send the Corleone family a dead fish wrapped in newspaper. Well, Warber had a message for C.M.U.: he loves dead fish. Warber then proceeded to tell C.M.U. just what he does to dead fish, a recipe that includes the following steps:
1. Fillet the fish on both sides.
2. Remove the bones and season liberally in salt and pepper.
3. Dredge the fish in a mixture of panko bread crumbs and andouille sausage.
4. Drop the fish in a bath of hot oil, maintaining a 350 degree temperature.
5. Flip the fish in order to brown both sides.
6. When done, move the fish onto a plate and put in the oven to keep warm.
Warber then completes the meal with a side of white asparagus and risotto — the latter’s secret ingredient is saffron, by the way. He concludes with this message for C.M.U. athletic director Dave Heeke:
You see Dave Heeke, when you send me a dead fish, my only regret is that you did not also include the white asparagus, and the aborio rice I need to make a very tasty side dish. One could say that if you come at Warber with a dead fish, he comes at you with a frying pan to cook the fish. If you come at Warber with asparagus, he will bring the boiling water to cook it and the ice bath to blanch it off. And if you dare come at Warber with aborio rice, he will use all of his powers and plenty of culinary flair to make the perfect risotto out of it.
You have been warned.
It’s the MLive way.
More random C.M.U. thoughts come below:
Was Warber onto something? Yeah, Central Michigan lost quite a bit heading into last fall: Dan LeFevour at quarterback, a handful of talented receivers, its starting running back and both starting cornerbacks, to name a few. It also lost Butch Jones, whose short tenure with the program saw him exceed the heights reached during Brian Kelly’s stint in Mount Pleasant. Even with these losses, however, few could have predicted C.M.U. would slip so far, so fast under Dan Enos, the former Michigan State assistant. The rampant attrition, which has seen 12 players from C.M.U.’s deep 2009 recruiting class leave the program, is one immediate cause for concern.
Winning close games. Of C.M.U.’s nine losses in 2010, seven came by 14 points or less. Of those seven, five came by a touchdown or less; of those five, four came by five points or less. You get the idea: C.M.U. needs to pull out these close games, particularly in MAC play. How can it do in 2011? It wouldn’t hurt to run the ball with consistency. The Chippewas ranked 108th nationally in rushing last fall, which underscores the team’s inability to maintain late leads — C.M.U. wanted to control the ball and the clock but often couldn’t.
Maintaining a hot finish. Quarterback Ryan Radcliffe’s season was uneven, to put it mildly. Interceptions were an issue throughout non-conference and MAC play, with his 17 picks among the most by any quarterback in the country. Radcliffe did finish strong, however, raising expectations as he heads into his junior season. Over his final three games — C.M.U. went 1-2, though it was competitive — Radcliff completed 87 of 133 attempts for 1,016 yards and five touchdowns. He’ll need to keep up that pace in 2011, especially if the running game doesn’t develop.
Rebuilding up front. Central Michigan returns five offensive linemen with starting experience but must replace a pair of four-year starters in Colin Miller and Jeff Maddux. Regardless of how the starting lineup shakes out, C.M.U. must remain healthy: only Miller started all 12 games last fall, and Maddux was the only other lineman to start more than nine games. One player to watch this spring is left tackle Jake Olson, a starter as a freshman in 2009 who missed all but the first three games of 2010 with a leg injury.
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