YPSILANTI, Mich. — Midway through the football season and are you ready to look at the midterm grades for the Eastern Michigan University football team.
A couple of facts before you look.
The Overall Record – 0-6
Mid-American Conference Record – 0-3
What grade can there be?
It would be nice to include a victory in this report but the only grade for that is an incomplete because it has not happen yet but according Eagle football coach Ron English it will not be too long and just be patient with his players and the program.
The only grade for the overall record and conference mark – there is no sugar coating that can make it look any better – no wins is exactly that no wins.
Every program wants to play a schedule that is competitive and show the football world that a program does have some kind of idea about the direction the program is being directed.
“Every dog has there day!” English said after the Eagles were defeated by Ohio State University. “I will get a chance to butt –whipping!”
B- Offensive Line:
They have played solid and they have also been beaten up and a bruised group but they face many defensive lines that are bigger and pick up linebackers that are quicker but they seem to play with a tough determination. There is some issue with penalties, too many holding or illegal procedure penalties that just stops any kind of momentum.
C- Running Backs:
Everybody is waiting for Dwayne Priest to explode and take over a game. So far he is been a glimmering teases for example against Army. Priest kept the Eagles in the contest, he ran hard, he made people miss him and he made some nice catches.
He ran with some authority against Miami University but then he struggled against Central Michigan University and glimpse of a sprinter against Ohio University.
Priest worked hard and had a nice 52 yard sprint bur he got caught by a Bobcat linebacker from behind. At Vanderbilt he was a non-factor in the ground game.
This group is solid corps and they could provide the way for a solid offensive group, they seem to have good leadership, tight end Ben Thyaer leads the team with 16 receptions but closing the gap is wide receiver Kinsman Thomas would seems to have the skill to get open and make a play after he catches the ball. Josh LeDuc is a big target and should provide a good target for any Eagles quarterback.
Alex Gillett was pushed into the starting position last season and English provided a quarterback competition with Kyle McMahon who left the program for Grand Valley State University.
This season English continued the quarterback competition with Gillett and Devontae Payne the reason English says is to give Payne some experience.
Gillett made some great strides in building his own confidence with his performance against Ohio State University; he directed three scoring drives and threw for 218 yards against a solid Buckeye defense. Gillett play against Ohio University was solid but against Vanderbilt University he struggled but dropped passes cannot build his confidence level.
D+ Defensive Front Line:
This group is improving as the season continues and at times this group does push into the backfield and disrupt the flow of the offense but too many penalties at the wrong time either help continue the opponents drive or just looks like to the average fan that it could have been avoided by playing smarter football.
Last season this group was a major concern for English, with their lack of effort and at times it looked like they just did not want to stop or tackle well enough and he said there were times when they were not coached well but a new defensive line coach Ken Delgado was hired and he brought a new attitude installed with the idea of improve play will be excepted and accepted.
According to English, this group some time play is like they do not know what is expected of them – too many times this group is caught out of position and too many times they just cannot support the defensive line and fill into the gaps and stop the run. Just like the defensive line this group makes too many penalties giving any offense a chance to feel a momentum swing.
At least two years ago this group played with a sense of pride but now they are grasping at the air just like there tackling skills and usually they miss and come up with nothing in their hands
F Defensive Backs:
If there is any doubt that this group is in need help then all you really have to do is watch them and you too will be joining English in shaking your head in disbelief.
There is nothing wrong playing with some toughness or with an a bit of an attitude but act like you have been there before but this group is so busy looking over their collective shoulder at a potential big play and it is surprising they are not all treated for whiplash.
They are always out of position and blowing assignments and pass interference calls feels like a normal play this group cannot play man-to-man or zone coverage, it is a mess to fix and there is a chance that English will not get the time to find any kind of talent.
This will be the group that will hurt English the most!
Defensive coordinator Phil Snow needs to step up and also take some heat about the play of the defensive backfield but everyone that plays any of defensive back field position need to wake up and step up to the mirror wipe off the steam and take a good long hard look at themselves and then apologize to Snow and to English.
B: Special Teams:
This is a proud group and has done what is asked of them each and every week; the return game is done a pretty good job getting the Eagles offense in some sort of decent field position.
The kickers including the punter have given an admirable effort by being accurate and able to get some good sailing punts that have some distance.
The excitement of running a successful fake punt has been part of the special team package.
Special team’s coach Tom Burpee is doing a good job in getting his part of the team in a frame of mind that solid special team play is important to a team’s success and if they do not have a good game then the team will be struggling for the entire game.
Looking at the grade is enough to make any student of the game shutter with disbelief and then make a solemn vow to improve the performance as an individual that makes up this team.
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.