Ypsilanti – The sights and smell of October football is all around Rynearson Stadium and the indoor practice facility at Eastern Michigan University, the wood burning in a distance fireplace, leaves falling off of the trees and the sound of football continues to echo across the valley.
This week Eastern Michigan University football team will be taking to the road and to the Southeast Conference and face Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee for a night game. This will be the sixth trip into the land of the sunny south and the mighty Southeast Conference for the Eagles and the record against the Southeast Conference is winless in five trips.
This will be the second trip into Nashville for the Eagles against Vanderbilt.
The Commodores will be looking to get better before the rest of their conference season hoping that Eastern Michigan University porous defense will be the medicine that the doctor order to make the Vanderbilt offense feel better.
Eastern Michigan University dropped the Homecoming game last Saturday afternoon against Ohio University 30-17 and continued the losing streak at 17 games but playing Vanderbilt might be just what is needed by Eagle football coach Ron English is hoping.
The Commodores defense is not a group that has too much confidence either, last Saturday Vanderbilt loss to the University of Connecticut 40-21, the Huskies running game controlled the game keeping the ball for over 36 minutes.
“We shot all our bullets defensively but their offensive line matched it,” Vanderbilt University first year football coach Robbie Caldwell said about his defense. “Their offensive line was outstanding. They are big, strong, aggressive and physically overpowered our defensive line.”
So in the world of collage football it is a rarity that each team is just what the doctor order.
Vanderbilt University football coach Caldwell might be a coach that understand English’s plight.
So far this season the Commodores have been playing a lot of games trailing but they do have a victory against the University of Mississippi.
According to Caldwell the Commodores will have to reestablish their running game to have any success against the Eagles and he also believes his defense must be able to hold their ground too and stop the opponent from having big ground games against Vanderbilt.
“We have to execute,” Caldwell said at his Monday press conference. “You have to keep working at it. We try to find something positive in every game.”
English is having trouble with defensive players not doing their job either missing tackles and missed assignments seem to be an every game occurrence.
“It takes 11 guys we had some assignment errors in there and that really hurt us,” English said about his defense after the Ohio University defeat. “Every guy is assign to a guy and when you do not take your guy big plays occur and we had a guy that did not take his guy.”
After the inspired game against the No.2 team in the nation the Ohio State University Buckeyes where the Eagles showed some type of character and could walk off of the historic playing surface of the Ohio Stadium in front of over 105,000 with pride, English would think that his team would be in a positive mental place.
Some of that character for the Eagles arrived in the first half against the Bobcats as the Eagles fought themselves to tie the Bobcats with 10 points at halftime giving English a sense and hope.
The chance and the hope vanished in the third quarter when the Ohio University offense cut through the defense for 20 unanswered points and took control of the game.
“You know the first half was highly contested we did some good things I thought the game there were a couple of plays in the third quarter that were kinds’ self-inflected and the game got away from us a little bit,” English said. “We had a chance to make it competitive once again but did not convert a couple of times offensively, obviously we did not play well enough to win the game.”
Eastern Michigan University will look to take advantage of Vanderbilt’s defense but the Eagles offense does not want to get into a track meet with Vanderbilt because of the lack of trust with the defense ability to contain an opponent offense.
The Eagles total defense ranks 112 in the nation allowing opponent an offense average of almost 460 yards and giving up almost 43 points per game which places Eastern Michigan University is almost at the bottom of the nation.
So the game plan for both teams seems to be elementary football; one team wants to control the ball and the other team wants to just be able to understand the defense philosophy and tackle.
The Eagles are hoping that the trip into Vanderbilt Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee will be the medicine that they have been waiting for and be the cure for the ending of the 17 game losing streak.
About the Author
Written by Mel Suiter
Graduated from Eastern Michigan University in 2002 and have been working as a beat writer for The Ypsilanti Courier covering Eastern Michigan University football and men's basketball during my school career and after graduation. I like the Mid-American Conference and the rest of the mid-major conferences.