YPSILANTI, Mich. — It is a green light, all systems are ready and away we go another football season is about to get established.
Sitting at his table at Uncle Mel’s favorite restaurant enjoying scramble eggs, a side of bacon crisp, whole wheat toast with butter and a cup of coffee, your old Uncle Mel reviewing the list of recruited football players at Eastern Michigan University there just seem like something was missing – the list was incomplete.
The atmosphere inside the Convocation Center and especially around the football office seemed to be clouded with too much gray area about the new recruit of football players enrolling at Eastern Michigan University.
So Uncle Mel took the last bite of his early morning breakfast special and paid his bill and trudged through the snow and started the trusty mobile news vehicle and went back to the Convocation Center to find Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English and get some clarification about these football recruits.
The snow kicked off of Uncle Mel’s shoes and up the stairs to the twin glass doors that is the gateway to the football offices.
Standing behind the counter with the office phone to her ear the same administrated assistant that helped Uncle Mel last time he arrived unannounced at these offices looking for answers. She looked at Uncle Mel and then rolled her eyes up toward the ceiling only to be thinking to herself, “Not again!”
She hung up the phone and politely asked if she could help Uncle Mel?
“Yes I would like to speak to coach English about the football recruits,” Uncle Mel requested.
“You know he is so busy at this time of the season,” she said with a half-hearted smile.
“I will go and ask for you and see. Please wait here.”
She again walked down a brightly lit hallway and proceed into a mercury vapor haze and vanished.
What seemed like and hour was just a few minutes in reality but the surprise look upon her face gave away her answer.
“He will see you!” she stuttered. “Please follow me.”
Uncle Mel passed through a doorway that could have been the pearly gates and stepped into the same rare atmosphere as the receptionist leading the way down the hallway into the office of the football coach at Eastern Michigan University – sacred and hallow ground.
English looked relaxed and smiling as he greeted Uncle Mel and placed in his hand more paperwork that contained the schedule for the upcoming spring practice.
English is ready to get the program started, he seems to be excited about the upcoming season.
The non conference schedule is exciting with the opening of the season at home against, Howard University but the Eagles will be playing Penn State, Alabama State and on September 17 the Eagles will be invading into the city of Ann Arbor, Michigan to play the University of Michigan at the legendary gridiron inside Michigan Stadium.
“I truly believe that we will win this year and the fans will come,” English said evaluating the 2011 football schedule. “The atmosphere at our games was good last year and will continue to improve. We will have to do our part. I love playing at Rynearson and I love our fans.”
Last season the Eagles finished 2-10 and there seemed to be some holes on both sides of the ball to fill especially on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage.
“We are evaluating what we have done on both sides of the ball and we will make some changes to do what is best for our players,” English side. “We have had a terrific off season program our kids look great and we recruited well.”
Running the ball is the first option for English and for the offense and getting a solid ball carrier is imperative to the success and English believes that 5-9 running back Ryan Brumfield from Chester Spring, Pennsylvania is an option for his offense, he ran the ball at Robert J Owen High School and ended his high school career with 8,500 yards.
“We are impressed with his durability and explosiveness,” English said about the new running back.
Getting some help in the backfield will be a relief for Eagle quarterback Alex Gillett, he has the ability to run with the ball but he also paid the price getting banged up and not able to incorporate a passing game with the running game.
“We are looking for our backs to be able to score from farther out. We need more explosive plays,” English said. “I like the way our backs are maturing right now. Our throw game must improve.”
For the Eagles defense the only direction is up, Eastern Michigan must improve on that side of the ball to know any type of success.
“I believe you will see a group of guys that will play defense the way we want,” English said about the Eagle defense. “Fast, physical and with execution. Our neck and shoulder development will give us a chance to be physical.”
The first day of spring practice is March 8 and it will begin 3:45 p.m., the 15 practices will stretch into five weeks and ending with the spring football game inside Rynearson Stadium on Sunday April 10, 2011 beginning at 10 a.m.
Uncle Mel stood up in the misty mercury vapor lights and started to shake English’s hand and thank him for his time but Uncle Mel was stopped by an impossible and insensitive secretary and then ushered away down the brightly lit hallway to the twin glass doors and escorted out of the office.
With the notes in his hand along with the news releases Uncle Mel got back to the safety of the mobile news vehicle only to still have the odd feeling that there were a lot of eyes watching from a distance.
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.