YPSILANTI, Mich. — With just two more games remaining in the 2010 football schedule and with a two year overall record of 1-21, is Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English feeling the pressure of being the man in charge of a program constantly searching for their identity?
The Eagles played another road game Saturday afternoon, facing Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo at the home of the Broncos, the world famous Waldo Stadium in front of just over 12,000 excited Western Michigan football fans who braved the mist in the air and watched the Broncos hand another defeat to the Eagles 45-30 under the overcast sky.
Simply defined the Eagles have earned the reputation of having the worse defense in the Mid-American Conference, every player that plays defense is searching for some type of answer, the defensive front four cannot break across the line of scrimmage to apply pressure in the backfield, too many times linebackers are caught out of position and the Eagles start and play defensive backs that cannot cover themselves with a blanket when they retire for the night in their beds in the dorm room.
Eastern Michigan quarterback Alex Gillett gave the Eagles a chance to pull off the upset with a nine play drive that traveled 80 yards down the field ending with a 32 yard touchdown pass caught by wide receiver Garrett Hoskins mid-way in the fourth quarter narrowing the deficit to just one score and a two point conversion.
The next possession by the Bronco illustrated the entire two years of English’s career at Eastern Michigan.
Eastern Michigan offense put the game in the hands of the defense to make just one stop but defensive back Marcell Rose who might still be at Waldo Stadium picking up his uniform off from the turf because Bronco wide receiver Juan Nunez made one simple move to his right and sent Rose into a circle of panic because Nunez sprinted pass Rose and Western Michigan quarterback Alex Carder’s pass fell into the waiting hands of Nunez a completing a 66 yard touchdown pass.
Just for fun let’s take a look at the numbers and see how they fit?
There are 13 teams in the Mid-American Conference; the Eagles are ranked 12th in pass defense only the University of Akron pass defense is worse than the Eagles – that the good news!
The Eagles are in last place in run defense allowing 214.8 yards per game, they are last in scoring defense by giving up an average 43.9 points for the season and finally the Eagles total defense allows a whopping 450.6 yards per game places them – you guess it in last place.
Last season the Eagles defense not only looked bad but they also played bad, English knew that there were trust issues on that squad that ate away any type of trust and that assistant coaches and players did not believe in his philosophy so English swept out those coaches and players getting a clean house in order by hiring defensive coordinator Phil Snow.
Snow according to English can coach defense at any other division 1 school because he is that good and that respected.
After the game Saturday afternoon English while talking to the media and explaining his theory about his team’s defense futile play, he said that the Eagles just do not have enough talent or depth to compete and expect execution.
So standing under a canopy on damp and chilly Saturday afternoon English put the blame on himself and coaching staff, the self-analysis might haunt English when his superiors go about the business of assessing English’s future.
“Obviously, we are not coaching well-enough defensively because we do not do what we are supposed to do,” English said standing outside the locker room. “It falls on the coaching so I am not satisfied with our abilities and I coach too!”
“It starts with me, the ability to get the defense to do what they are supposed to do consistently and they have a hard time doing that,” English said before ending his meeting with the media after the game and retreating back into the warmth of the locker room.
The athletic department at Eastern Michigan University understands that the football program does need time to improve but with Saturday’s performance many Eagle fans and administrators should be getting tired of the mediocrity, the patience is wearing a little thin waiting for the players to step up in this program and play the game of football with dignity and respect for their coach but more important play the game like they respect themselves.
Eastern Michigan will close out the travel portion of the schedule Nov, 20 Saturday afternoon at the University at Buffalo at Memorial Stadium beginning at 2 p.m.
The Bulls have lost five straight including last Saturday’s game against Ball State University the same team that the Eagles snapped the losing streak, this might be a chance for another win and buy English and his staff more time but it will be in the hands of the defense to provide the way down victory lane.
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.