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September 4, 2013

Enos: 'We have a huge challenge with New Hampshire'

The Chippewas are coming off a 50-point loss at Michigan last weekend. This Saturday, they open the home portion of their 2013 schedule against New Hampshire, who is ranked No. 11 in the FCS polls. CMU head coach Dan Enos talked to the media this week on the loss to Michigan and looked ahead to the showdown with the Wildcats.

On Michigan

Obviously, not a lot of things went right. We got outplayed in all three phases by Michigan. They have an outstanding football team and they're very well coached. (Devin Gardner) is a very good player and I was very impressed with their, particularly the defensive line. There weren't a lot of bright spots.

On Taylor Lewan

He's very good. He reminds me a lot of Eric Fisher. Their other tackle, Michael Schofield is very good too. He'll be a NFL player as well. Having a guy like that is big because they can protect by themselves without anybody chipping or helping, or without guards help. They can handle guys on the perimeter by themselves. In the run game, they're able to movement and that's the key in your run game: to not have your heels go backwards, but to be constantly moving your heels forward and be displacing guys from gaps. Having a tackle like that is a huge advantage and as I mentioned, to have two of them is an even bigger advantage. Having that, along with a very athletic quarterback, presents people with a lot of problems.

On New Hampshire

I think we have a huge challenge with New Hampshire, who was a FCS playoff team last year. Offensively, they have two quarterbacks that play. Both are very good. The running back is very good, they have good wideouts and their offensive line is solid. Defensively, they have a lot of returning starters. Their coach does a great job. Their staff does a great job getting their guys ready and this will be another big challenge for us.

On the biggest challenge when preparing for a FCS school

It's not really the FCS school. It's more about preparing for their personnel and what they do. With New Hampshire, it's not about their level of play. We know they're a good football team. I think seven FCS schools beat FBS opponents last weekend. Our guys have a ton of respect for them. The preparation is really just getting ready for what they do offensively and defensively.

On Tipton's status and Kater's status

It's indefinite. I don't want to put a number on it, but it's going to be a while for both of them.

On his message to the team on Saturday after those injuries

Just that we have to pick it up and move on. We have to get better. It's obviously not the way that any of us wanted to play. To start out playing that way and then have two of your key guys get injured isn't good. But we've talked to these guys about handling adversity, especially in camp, and that's part of life too. Guys have to step up and guys have to move on.

On Alex Niznak's learning curve in the offense

There's going to be some tough spots. Saturday was the first time that he has played in a football game since the state championship with Ithaca High School. There's going to be learning moments along the way. He's still a young guy; he's only a sophomore. We expect him to get better every week. Hopefully, he can take what happened to him Saturday, both the good and bad, and move forward and play better this week.

On the CMU secondary's performance at Michigan

I thought they played pretty well. We had three picks. Some of that was because we were also able to put some pressure on the quarterback. As a whole, there were certainly some positives in there. Michigan is a pretty decent football team too.

On Saylor Lavallii

I thought he played well down the stretch for us last year. He's a good player, very talented. He had 10 carries for 52 yards against a very good defense on Saturday. We thought he performed very well. He was also very good in pass protection.

On what he told Tipton and Kater after their injuries

It's very difficult. Both of those guys were very emotional, even at halftime. They were tears. They felt like they let the team down. Our message to them was that they didn't let anybody down. This is part of life. Sometimes you have to deal with things like this. You have to become stronger because of it and you have to move forward. Both of those guys just have to remain diligent and stay focused at rehabbing, so they can get back. Hopefully, both of them can get back at some point this season and help our football team. But it's very difficult to talk to them because they've worked so hard. They're both great young men and it's obviously very disappointing for them. We'll support them and do everything we can do to keep their spirits up as they try to get healthy.

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