November 29, 2009

Jones: 'We always talk about leaving our legacy'

Shortly after Central Michigan's home victory over Northern Illinois on Friday, some things started to sink in. The regular season was over and CMU's remarkable senior class, including quarterback Dan LeFevour and wide receiver Bryan Anderson, had played their final game in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.ChippewaCountry was present at the post game press conference where head coach Butch Jones , LeFevour and Anderson reflected on the game and senior day.

Head Coach Butch Jones

Opening statement:

"That was a very hard-fought football game. I'm very proud of our seniors. You look at what they've meant to our football family, Central Michigan University and the city of Mount Pleasant, I just can't say enough about them. It was very fitting that Frank Zombo stepped up when we needed it and made a big play. What we found out, too, is that that you can't turn the football over. We faced a very good football team today. A very well-coached and physical football team, and we knew it was going to be a battle. I'm just very happy for our seniors, and now we have one game left next Friday before we can catch our breath and move on to the bowl game. I'm just very happy for those 13 individuals who given everything we could ask for and more from a senior class."

On how the team avoided a letdown after clinching a spot in the MAC Championship Game last week:

"We went through last night what people have said every game and how they have doubted us. Every week it's been something new. This week was a letdown. That's our coaches' job, it's my job, it's our seniors' job and it's our leaders' job. These kids have been focused all year. I can't say enough. To have 10 wins in today's world of college football does not happen very often. I think that's a tribute to everyone within our football family."

On being the first team in CMU history to finish the season undefeated in MAC conference play:

"We always talk about leaving your legacy. We've got one game left, which is going to be a great, great challenge, against a very physical and dynamic Ohio University football team. But to win 10 games, go undefeated in Mid-American Conference play and for our seniors to win all of their home games - we talk about, maybe 20 or 25 years from now, the 109th edition of the CMU Chippewas can end up in the CMU Athletics Hall of Fame. We talk about championship character, and there is a little bit of difference that makes up the character of a champion. Today I thought was a great challenge for us. We had a ton of adversity that occurred during the game, and we had some individuals step up at the end and not flinch and make some plays for us."

On holding a Northern Illinois team that averaged 210 yards rushing coming in, to 126 yards, and having success running the ball against a stout Huskies defense that was among the MAC's best:

"Well, I thought the big key to the game was being able to possess the ball a little bit. Especially on third downs, we were 12-18, and we take great pride in that. A lot of that is staying on schedule, it's winning first and second down. For us to be able t possess the ball offensively, I thought that was really the big key in the game. We also learned some things, we obviously can't turn the ball over, I was very, very disappointed in that. There are some great teaching points that come out of this football game."

On what quarterback Dan LeFevour means to this football program:

"We don't have enough time," said a smiling Coach Jones. "I could throw out some adjectives, winner, first-class, what he's meant to our football family has been unbelievable. And the statistics he has accomplished speak for themselves, but it's the other things, his family, his mom and dad, his brother and sister, everything, he's really the total package. He's an individual that's going to be successful no matter what he ventures to do in life, and he's going to be representative and great ambassador for CMU for years to come. And what he means to this community, how active he is in the community, from being at church every day on Sunday, it's amazing, I get letters from parents saying: 'Thank you, my sons see Dan LeFevour at church on Sunday and now they go because they want to see him'. Little things like that that you can't put a price tag on, that's invaluable and what summarizes Dan LeFevour is he's the total package both on and off the field."

On Dan LeFevour having played his last game at Kelly/Shorts:

"I haven't really thought about it much. One of the things we stressed with this senior class is I didn't want this to be real emotional day. I think sometimes, I've learned throughout the years that a senior class that has so much pride for a university or institution like our guys do, and they come out and the emotion gets in the way. And we have two more games left that need to be played. So, I'll think about that when the time comes, but I'm just excited for him, but we still have two very important football games and once that's done, we'll reminisce a little bit., we'll sit back and prepare, but I'm excited about the young players we have in our program and where our recruiting process is right now, so I'm also excited about the future. We only have thirteen seniors on this football team, so this is a very small senior class, and what this senior class has done is create a level of expectation for the following senior classes to follow, and what's expected in a Central Michigan Chippewa senior, and that's something special."

On whether going 10-2 was a reasonable goal coming into the season:

"Yeah, I think it was a reasonable expectation, but you have to understand it's always harder to be the hunted rather than the hunter. And these kids have had a bulls eye on them since MAC Media Day, on the front and the back. And they've answered all the expectations to date and again next Friday is going to be a great challenge, but what they have done is kept their consistent focus week in and week out. And that's a tribute to our seniors and our leaders on this football team. So the expectations that surround your football program, the more you win, the more people expect you to win, and they don't know how, they just expect you to be able to win. With all the things, people playing through injuries and the commitment we have, this is the most committed group of 102 individuals that I've ever been a part of."

Quarterback Dan LeFevour:

His thoughts on this being his last game in Kelly/Shorts and whether or not he has done any recollecting:

"I let my mom do that," said LeFevour laughing. "Honestly we have some more work to do, so it's hard to get too emotional thinking about this one. Seven days from now, that one is the one we're looking toward. It's a great day and it's a great tribute to one of the best classes that's been here, but we still have more to do."

On the leadership the senior class has provided:

"You can put a lot on these guys for how well we've done. Not taking anything away from the younger guys, but I think the seniors really took ownership of this team up to this point. We know what it takes to win and we wouldn't let ourselves slip to any other standard than the best. I think we've done a great job so far. We just have to keep pressing."

On having only six rushing attempts, one of his lowest totals of the season, and whether that was by design or preventative measures before the MAC Championship game:

"I don't think it's anything preventative, I think it's just what was working for us at the time. Obviously our running backs were running the ball well."

On whether having running back Bryan Schroeder back helps the team:

"It does, I think it really changes our offense. Being able to break arm tackles and turn those five to six yard gains into eighty yard gains, that means a lot for our offense and they have to account for that, and I think it shows."

On wide receiver Bryan Anderson and his consistency:

"Obviously, the most consistent receiver, I don't know, I don't want to say to ever play the game, but the most consistent guy I have played with. You know where he's going to be when you throw the ball and he knows where I'm going to go with the ball, we been playing with each other for a little over five years, so we're definitely on the same page."

On whether it hit him as he was running off the field that this was his last game at CMU:

"You know what, more against Toledo I did, kind of thinking that it was winding down. But this time, you have to put the emotions aside, let's go play ball you know. We still have to much work to be done to be focusing on what we did in the past."

On looking back and thinking how things may have been different had Brian Brunner not got injured against Boston College four years ago:

"Yeah, shoot I feel bad for Brian. He went through what I had to go through a little bit last season sitting on the sidelines and watching my team do well. But he's a great guy, and we're friends now, and we always were when he was here in a competitive sense. But he's a good guy and we have a good relationship, so I think we both understand that things happened and we have to move on."

Wide Receiver Bryan Anderson

On setting the NCAA record for consecutive games with a reception:

"It feels pretty good, to say the least. It's kind of cool to have my name at the top of the list in that category."

On his goals at the beginning of his career compared to now:

"When I first came here, I was expecting to play behind Damien Linson as a redshirt freshman. I got moved to slot to fill a gap there because of an injury, and I stayed there. My goals coming in were to start on special teams and maybe get a little playing time. It turned out a lot different, but it's been nice."

On the senior class as a whole:

"Our senor class is really close. When we go here there was maybe thirty something of us, and now there is only thirteen, so were a real close group we know all these goals that were within reach."

On whether the record was on his mind before the game:

"It's like I think about it going into a game, thinking I have to make a catch. But it's been on my parents mind," said a smiling Anderson. "They always tell me, 'Make sure they throw you a ball in the first quarter'."

On whether there is one stat about LeFevour that impresses him the most:

"I think he's like one touchdown away from being the all-time leading scorer or something, I heard it over the loudspeaker. But I mean, he owns every stat at this school, there all impressive."

Northern Illinois head coach Jerry Kill:

On the CMU offense:

"The key to the success is their quarterback and passing game. Any time you can complete a deep out against stiff wind, it makes it tough on the defense. We always have to try and contain the pass and it opens up the running game for them as well. They played really well, especially in the third quarter to pull away from us."

On CMU quarterback Dan LeFevour:

"I've seen him play for a long time. He is as good a person as a football player. I wish him luck and I think he can play in the NFL. However, I am not sad to see him gone though. Nobody has gotten to him in four years, he's hard to tackle. He's a great quarterback and makes plays."

On fighting back into the game:

"I don't think we've quit since we've been here, but we had to get better as a football team. We got a chance to get back in the game, but they did a good job recovering onside kicks when we got close."

On the field position battle:

"Field position is always critical, but the wind was stiff and we gave them a short field on some bad punts. We improved in the coverage, but gave great field position. That hurt us a lot, LeFevour can make you pay with a long field. It makes it worse when you give him and that offense the field position that we did."

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