YPSILANTI, Mich. — The sights and smells are in the air my friends, the smoke from bond fires, the sound of the children shouting out “trick or treat!” and the questionable doubt surrounding the average football fan that follow the Eastern Michigan University Eagles.
Now gather around the dinner table all my nieces and nephews and let Uncle Mel tell a scary yarn about a football team.
Those Eagles travelled down at the beginning of Tobacco Road, crossing over the Shenandoah Mountains and to the home of the Cavaliers and the University of Virginia but unfortunately the end of the game turned out to be a nightmare for Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English.
The University of Virginia defeated Eastern Michigan 48-21 at Scott Stadium now it is not as freighting as it looks, the Eagles did play well at times but a couple of miscues by the Eagles and then some old fashion trickery by the Cavaliers created the sweet treat of victory for Virginia.
For one week, the only victory, the win over Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, seven days of feeling like you were dipping your hand into a big bowl of your favorite candy bar and unwrapping the bar and tasting the sweetness for the first time something that will always be remembered.
Now it is the fear of the past performances might return and the stench of another 18 game losing streak will foul and fill the air. The scary performances of some players will be haunting the dreams of the football fans that are brave enough to mention that the Eagles are their team.
“It has been tough. You put in all that work, all the time, to go out on a Saturday and not get a win for a long time; you can fall into a trap of just saying ‘Oh, here we go again.’ Our coaches, they kept preparing us like were were going to win every game,” Eastern Michigan University quarterback Alex Gillett said. “We all want to win here. That is what we need to is keep going.”
English is not in a panic, he says this is all part of the process and making some progress will take some time but beating the Cardinals, English did look like he enjoyed winning and he did look like there were was evident that the weight of the world was lifted from his shoulders.
Uncle Mel says okay and yes the Eagles are improving in certain areas. They are playing better on offense but they are still a long way from a winning season or playing for a championship but English reassures the masses that these things will arrive but until then we will all have to continue to embrace the process.
In order for the Eagles to feel better as a team, the play of the defense must step up and be intense, there should be a sprite with a devil-may-care attitude and the defense needs to understand – they are the emotion catalyst of this team and they can set the mood and atmosphere that nobody can visit Rynearson Stadium and scare the Eagles off of their own turf.
English says the defense has a tendency to give up the big play because of miscommunication and missed assignments and too many times the Eagles offense finds themselves behind by a lot of points early in the game and so the opponent is dictating the tempo of the game.
It is time for the defense to step up and take control of a game, to play smart and follow the instructions that defensive coordinator Phil Snow teaches and perhaps the work of the game will become fun and turn back into a game.
Saturday evening the University of Toledo will be haunting Rynearson Stadium looking to turn the joy of collecting treats into a mysterious tricks.
The Rockets will be avoiding sleep walking and playing without any emotion too, they will be looking to get it going early in the game and always take advantage of any Eastern Michigan miscues.
Well it is good to be off of the road and get some good old fashion home cooking and get ready for all the monsters, goblins and witches Sunday evening as they all come by and get some treats and celebrate Halloween but hopefully a victory over the Toledo Rockets Saturday night will fill their goody sacks.
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.