Central Michigan 48, Akron 21: Postgame Quotes

Central Michigan Head Coach Butch Jones
On winning today’s game…
“It's always big to win your first conference game. I thought Dan (LeFevour) turned in a great effort, but there's a lot of little things we have to get corrected. The more you win, the more that's at stake. We need to get some special teams items corrected, but I can't say enough about our kids' focus. They were ready to play. There were too many penalties and that's unacceptable. Overall though, I think it was a great way to start the conference race.”

On Dan LeFevour’s running ability…
“LeFevour is a critical piece of our running game. He ran how we are used to seeing him run. He wasn't tentative at all.”

On CMU’s training staff…
 I'd be remiss if I didn't mention our great training staff. We had 14 individuals with the flu this week, and they did a great job of getting them back, healthy and ready to play this game.”

On CMU’s defense…
“Our defense is flying around and getting to the ball. Akron is a very good football team. Coming into today we thought it was important to establish the line of scrimmage and we did that. Deryn Bowser is a great player and we did a nice job containing him and getting off the field. The play of the defense set the tone for the game. Anytime you can force a team to go three-and-out, we feed off that as a team.”

On the blocked field goal on the opening drive…
“It was a huge momentum swing. We wanted to start fast, and after we give up a big kick return, our defense steps up and gets a stop and Vince Agnew comes off the edge and blocks the field goal attempt. That set the tone for the rest of the day.”

On whether LeFevour’s running ability was a part of the game plan…
It was part of our plan but it was also part of the flow of the game. Our offensive line did a great job, and Dan did a nice job running north and south and making plays. He did a great job managing the offense outside of one errant throw.

On the special teams miscues…
We had a bad snap, a missed extra point and gave up a big return. We spend too much time on those things to have those efforts, and we'll get those corrected.

On the defense’s ability to stop Akron’s running game…
“We pride ourselves on being a physical football team. Anytime you become one dimensional hurts you, and being able to establish the run opened up a lot of little things, from our screen passes to our play-action passing. Defensively, it's important to force your opponent into third-and-long. The running game is about getting into favorable down-and-distances and giving your opponent difficult situations.”

On the team’s leadership…
We've done a nice job this year holding each other accountable. We are getting great leadership. Football is a week-to-week challenge. We'll enjoy this win for 24 hours and then we'll move on, but I'm happy with the leadership we've gotten out of our football family.

On the amount of personal foul penalties called…
It's a point of emphasis around the country. If it's even close, we expect that it will be called. It's hard when it's a bang-bang play on the sideline, but it's a point of emphasis. We will go back and look at the situations and get them corrected, because we cannot make those mistakes.

Quarterback Dan LeFevour
On his ability to run the ball…
I didn't break too many tackles today, so you have to credit those guys up front for creating big holes for us to run through. The line has played great, especially our young tackles. Opponents have commented on how great they've played and how athletic they are. They've answered the call this season very well.

On whether or not he’s in a groove…
I think our entire offense is in a groove. I don't worry too much about stats. We're moving the ball as an offense and that's great. It starts with the offensive line. They're playing great and that allows us to do some things.

On how well the defense is playing…
Playing well is contagious. The way the defense plays fuels us, and when we get a big score it fuels them too. We're playing great team ball right now.

Linebacker Matt Berning
On the defensive line’s play…
Our defensive line did a tremendous job against Akron. Those guys were digging in and played with great effort, and that makes it much easier for the linebackers to clean it up if we need to. We wanted to come out swinging and I think we did a great job of doing that today.

On the strides the defense has made…
We put a big emphasis on our defense in the offseason and I think that creates a lot of trust as a unit. That's been one of the things that's really helped us. Last year we beat ourselves most of the time. We would have the right calls on and then we would fail to execute. It really eats at you because you know you can do a lot better. That makes us play with a little bit of a chip on our shoulder.

Defensive End Frank Zombo
On the experience of the defense…
We have a lot of guys who have played a lot of football. We have great team chemistry and some seniors who have seen a lot of game action. This is the closest group defensively I've been a part of. It's like a brotherhood. We don't want to let the person next to us down, and that's been our whole mentality this year.

On the differences between this year and last year…
I think we were in the right spots a lot last year, we just didn't execute. I think that comes with experience. Last year, the ball would be in the air and somehow the other team would come up with it, and this year we're making plays. Right now, we're near the top of the conference in defense, and we want to keep it that way. It's a mentality where we want to swarm to the ball.

On this week’s preparations…
Coach Jones put a lot of pressure on the defensive line this week. We feel if we play our game we can really disrupt teams. We put our minds to it and we came out and played really well.  We have to keep it up. We're only four games in, but it shows how far we've come. We get to stick our chest out a little bit because the offense didn't have to do it all.

On holding Akron to 1-of-12 on third down…
Our goal is to get off the field. It was a huge emphasis in camp and through this first four weeks. We came into this game wanting to limit them on first down and force them into long situations and we were able to do that.

Akron head coach J.D. Brookhart
On Akron's offensive struggles...

I was disgusted with the start of the game. We got a huge kickoff return that gave us a chance to get on the board early, but the offense did nothing with it. We held Central to a missed field goal and we pressured CMU on a punt. Simply put, we have to take advantage of those opportunities.

On the Zips' third and fourth down conversions...
It was ridiculous that we could not convert on third downs, especially in short yardage situations. I promise that this is going to change. I know we are a little thin at some positions, but that is no excuse. We have four great receivers, but we didn't give our QB a chance to get them the ball.

On defending Central Michigan...
It is very difficult to handle the plays that they have, but then you throw in a quarterback who runs 20 times per game. LeFevour has great speed and he is very physical. That guy is a brick wall and he gets up after every hit he takes. He is just a fantastic player.

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