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Central Michigan coach John Bonamego discusses the Chippewas' playbook

Coach Bono has CMU fans' hopes up early in his tenure. Just what does the bespectacled play caller have in mind for his alma mater's upcoming season?

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Your return to campus at CMU had to be like Welcome Back Kotter. What was the experience like?

We were welcomed back with open arms. We had numerous opportunities to interact with the student body, faculty and the community. We really enjoyed that part of it. It was exciting to get to know the football team. The whole experience was tremendous.

Chippewa fans may not know it, but they are getting a twofer with your wife, Paulette. It really is Team Bonamego that has arrived at CMU. How has Paulette adapted to life on campus and what can we expect from her in the future?

She has embraced the role. She has always wanted to be part of campus life. She really cares about kids and enjoys their energy as much as I do. In the future, you can expect more of the same.

You had to be impressed with the New Venture Competition reception that filled the floor at McGuirk Arena, right?

That really was a neat thing. CMU represents excellence with an outstanding faculty and a bright talented student body. It was good to see students in a real life venue carrying out a high level of production. It shows what we have at CMU.

You have indicated that the hurry up offense will be worked into your game planning. How do you see the hurry up offense being advantageous?

It gives us the ability to run our offense from the line of scrimmage. We can run every play from the no huddle format. We communicate differently than in the huddle offense, but we can do everything that we can do in the huddle offense.

Cooper Rush has spent two years trying to slow down as he was learning the game. How is he adapting to the new offense?

Cooper is adapting well. He has a tremendous amount of poise. How we will call plays and use formations is very similar to the huddle offense. The difference is how calls get communicated. I expect Cooper to continue to progress and play at a high level.

On the other hand, Martez Walker might be the happiest guy on your team now that you are implementing a hurry up offense. Will Martez see the ball more this year with the new offense?

While it is true that the hurry up offense matches Martez's skill set and his ability to catch the ball, it is really designed to benefit all of our backs. We are deep at running back. We also have Devon Spalding and Maurice Shoemaker-Gilmore and a couple of young guys who have showed up as well.

You are going with a 4-3 defensive formation. This is going to make Tony Annese your quarterback on defense. How do you evaluate Tony?

Tony is a really good football player with a great grasp of the game. He is one of our leaders together with Tim Hamilton and Blake Serpa.

I read a quote from Joe Ostman that there is a difference between being ready and being prepared. How do you see the difference?

To say that you are prepared means a higher degree of attention to detail to enable fast play. Everyone is ready. Teams that win consistently are prepared and don't overlook any part of preparation including practice, conditioning-every segment of the game.

The  MAC West may be the most talented, deep and well coached that it has ever been. What is going to be your philosophy for dealing with a brutal MAC West schedule?

The philosophy is for us to always approach everything the same way. Our focus is on our preparation. Our emphasis is to control what we can control. This means no penalties, turnovers or missed assignments.

What are your expectations for the upcoming Spring game?

We are going to divide up the team and see execution. We want a clean mistake free game. We do not want to see pre-snap penalties.  For the fans, we want to give a taste of what they can expect to see in the Fall. Overall, health is what is most important.


Special thanks to Rob Wyman of Central Michigan University Athletic Communications for facilitating this interview, and to Coach Bono for taking the time to talk with us.