Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A New Vision: CMU set to begin '10 season

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || September 01, 2010

A few weeks ago, Dan Enos was watching television, flipping through channels, when a certain Pittsburgh Steelers rookie wide receiver caught his eye.

He had seen the receiver before, heard about him, defended him and maybe even lost a minute or two of sleep thinking about him.

And now here the receiver was, in front of Enos, on a television screen tuned to ESPN’s SportsCenter, wearing a professional uniform and running away from professional players, when the first-year Central Michigan head coach stopped and thought, “Man, that guy’s fast. What if he had another year?”

But Antonio Brown doesn’t have another year. Neither does Dan LeFevour. Or Bryan Anderson. Or, for that matter, most of the familiar faces that helped cash four years of winning into a historic, season-ending Top 25 ticket last winter.

“Oh, well,” Enos remembered thinking that day, after watching Brown race past Detroit Lions defender after Lions defender for a 68-yard touchdown. “Time to move on.”

Time to move on, for a senior class, the most successful in school history. For a coaching staff, the second whose success in Mount Pleasant has led to bigger things. For a school icon, who left as a big fish in a small pond for a chance at being a small fish in a big pond, and most importantly, for a community and fan base whose expectations are no longer satisfied by beating WMU, having a winning season and earning a bowl bid.

No, present-day Chippewas football is not about being satisfied. It’s about winning. It’s about conference championships, bowl victories, double-digit win totals and yes, beating the Broncos, but badly.

And Enos understands that.

“There will be some things that look similar and some things that look different,” he said. “Hopefully they continue to see that we have more points at the end of the game than the other team.”

But where the Chippewas get those points, in a Mid-American Conference as wide open as ever, with a pair of Bowl Championship Series opponents on the schedule and without nearly 70 touchdowns from last season accounted for, remains to be seen.

And Enos also understands that.

“Obviously, that’s a lot of production,” he said. “But in football, guys have to step up. We have guys stepping up. We’ll be gaining the yards and throwing the ball, there will be different guys catching it, but hopefully things will be similar.”

The play similar and, for the returning seniors whose final season in the maroon-and-gold comes at the forefront of transition, the winning hopefully familiar.

“I think we’re going to be the forefront of the team,” said senior Nick Bellore, who, paired with fellow senior and All-MAC performer Matt Berning, give CMU a formidable one-two punch on defense.

Both lines return multiple starters, and nearly each position — with the exception of youthful quarterback and tight end groups — will lean on at least one seasoned senior as the infrastructure of a winning culture remains in tact.

“The seniors on this team have been nothing but supportive,” Enos said. “That’s the way you can transition without attrition.”

Transition without attrition. It is the ultimate goal of any college football program, one that has eluded more prestigious in-state programs as of late and one that, despite the recent poaching of successful coaches, the CMU football program has already achieved once before.

The playmakers might be gone, the stars shining elsewhere; the coaches might have left, making their millions wherever; but in Mount Pleasant, head coach Dan Enos and the 2010 Chippewas know it’s time.

Time to move on.

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