YPSILANTI, Mich. — For Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English, the 52-6 defeat against Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee last Saturday night just means another trip to the drawing board and find the solution to his problem.
His defense still makes too many mistakes ; the missed assignments, the amount of missed tackles and the sure call of untimely penalties still keeps English’s head moving back and forth in disbelief and now you can almost see the tears forming out of frustration.
English is a proud man and he is a good man, he arrived at Eastern Michigan University back on Dec. 22, 2008 from the University of Louisville, he came back home to an area he knew a great deal of success, he came to the Eagles as a coach who knows how to coach defenses.
“When we began the search for a new head football coach at Eastern Michigan University we wanted someone that we felt could take our program in a new direction,“ Eastern Michigan University Director of Athletics Dr. Derrick Gragg said after hiring his football coach. “After going through an exhaustive search process we selected Ron English to lead our football program.
“He has proven himself as a tremendous defensive coordinator,” Gragg said. “Over a long career and we feel that he is prepared to take over our football team.”
The record is 0-18, but almost every week English provides a slim chance of hope that the streak will come to a merciful end with a victory, English said at one time this team does not need any more moral victories. He is referring to the inspired play of the Eagles at the University of Michigan and the Ohio State University games.
The Eagles did show some pride and they did play hard in stadiums that hold over 100,000 people but the coaches, the school and the fans that pour there heart and soul into this program just like English, are ready for a victory.
The Eagle road show continues this week with a trip to the cornfields of Muncie, Indiana and the home of Mid-American Conference West Division foe Ball State University.
The Cardinals are coming into Saturday’s game after a lackluster performance last Saturday afternoon against Western Michigan University, dropping a 45-16 decision to the Broncos and as Ball State University football coach Stan Parrish described as an ugly game for the Cardinals.
“That was not our team out there today,” Parrish said after the game. “Give Western Michigan all the credit but we certainly help their cause.”
Ball State committed four turnovers against the Broncos of the Cardinals first five possessions, the turnovers created a 28-0 deep hole that the Cardinals could not pull themselves out.
Cardinal starting quarterback Keith Wenning was directed to the bench by Parrish in the second half after going one of eight and throwing two interceptions and unable to recover a bad snap that hit him in the ankle while he was in a shotgun formation during the first half.
If Eastern Michigan University offense can play with an inspiration that they showed at Ohio State University and at times against Vanderbilt University and then get some combination of scores it just might be enough to get into the minds of the Ball State University players.
The Eagle defense needs to create a couple of turnovers and give the offense a short field to work with or another offensive chance to score some points it just might be enough to send the Ball State players into their locker room shaking their heads in disbelief.
For that to happen the Eagles defense will have to play their best game of the season, they will have to do all the little things that English and his defensive coordinator Phil Snow have been teaching.
The defense linemen will have to be in their gaps, they are going to have step up and not be afraid to hit somebody and make a tackle. The defenses backfield is going to make sure and understand the assignments and look for the chance to make an interception instead of gambling and losing and watching a big play develop behind them.
The linebackers will have be able to contain the Cardinals tailback MiQuale Lewis who ran for 64 yards against the Broncos and pass Ball State legend Bernie Parmalee in the Ball State record book as the second leading rusher in Cardinal history.
The defensive line must find away to get into the backfield and disrupt the offensive flow and get into the face of the freshman quarterback Wenning if that happen maybe the defense can also get into the head Wenning too but Snow will have to get some kind of blitz package together to put pressure on the Cardinal quarterback.
The key to that style of defensive play will have to be playing with emotion but playing with discipline, play like as a defender who knows the rules of the game.
No defensive penalties, make the tackle clean and legal, make the pass break up with out interference and sack the quarterback without the roughing the passer call. The defense needs to put the offense and the rest of the team in a place were winning in Muncie, Indiana is a reality and not just another dream that fades away into the cornfield.
The offense for the Eagles will be going up against highly emotional Cardinal defense they want prove that they are a strong squad and the loss to the Broncos was out of character.
Sophomore middle linebacker for the Cardinals Travis Freeman provides the anchor and the leadership for the Cardinal defense, he made 14 tackles against the Broncos.
“We have to be consistent,” Freeman said after the game against Western Michigan University. “Consistency is the name of the game in college football. Consistency is a must in this league.”
The Eagle offense will need to take control of the game early and take advantage of any mistake the Cardinals give them, the idea is to put pressure on the young Cardinals with their own threat of getting a big play from either the running game or from the passing game, it is chance to get inside the Cardinals’ head and a chance to get them to doubt themselves.
English and the rest of the athletic department say that they are building for the future and he wants to change the atmosphere of losing the shrouds this program, the only way for the gloom of disappear to be lifted would be a miracle from the farmland that surrounds Muncie, Indiana and Ball State University.
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.