YPSILANTI, Mich. —- This Saturday afternoon October 1, 2011 Eastern Michigan University will open for the 36th time, the Mid-American Conference portion of their schedule.
The Eagles finished the non-conference schedule with a 2-2 overall record defeating Howard University and Alabama State University but Eastern Michigan University felt the sting of defeat against the University of Michigan and Penn State University.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English and his team is preparing to welcome to Rynearson Stadium a well coached team from the state of Ohio, the University of Akron is a team that the Eagles need to respect English said.
“We will have our hands full but we are excited about conference play,” English said about the Zips. “ They are well coached team and I have great respect for Akron and I like there defense and I like the way they play.”
English is hoping to attack the Zips’ defense with a balance offense especially running the ball but he said the Eagles must have better accuracy throwing the ball.
The Eagles quarterback Alex Gillett throwing the ball so far this season for 407 yards completing 52.6 of his passing attempts. Gillett threw the ball 31 times against Penn State and completing 18 passes for 202 yards.
Gillett struggled two weeks ago at Michigan Stadium, he only threw the ball just six time completing three passes for a completion percentage of 50 but the 29 yards did not help to balance the offense.
So far this season, Gillett has threw four interceptions and the opposition have made points off of the turnovers and English said this is unacceptable.
“We all know the turnover margin and penalties can effect the outcome of a game,” English said about the importance of keeping the ball safe. “We need to stop turning the ball over and we need to score, we need to be explosive and we can not give games away.”
Saturday afternoon Gillett will be in a Eagle uniform for the 26th time and it will be the 20th time he started for the Eagles.
Gillett is in the history books for Eagles at No. 11 with 2,803 yards throwing the ball for Eastern Michigan University and is his 19 touchdown passes places him in the ninth position in the record book.
English said that Gillett is a smart player and that he can make some good thing happen when he is out on the field but the 24 career interceptions is an area of concern for English and offensive coordinator Ken Karcher.
English describes himself as an old-school football coach and he wants his team to establish a solid and dominating running game.
“We want to be a physical, we want to run for a better average,” English said about the success of his running game and what it means to his team. “The kids are improving.”
Gillett lead the Eagles running game last season by gaining 776 yards but he took some punishing hits, this season he is spreading the attempts at running the ball to a formable pair of tailbacks.
English’s running attack featured two strong runners Javonti Greene and Dominique Sherrer and for the first two games the Eagles ground game looked and acted formable but against Alabama State University tailback Sherrer got hurt and has not played agaisnt the last two opponents.
Sherrer and Greene both ran for over 100 yards in the first two games for the Eagles and place them in the Eagles’ record book because no other runners have reached that feat and it is no surprise that the Eagles won both of those games.
English feels his defense is ready to become a physical force in the conference, the Eagles defense is led by the solid play of linebackers Justin Cudworth and Marcus English both have contributed some hard hits and created some turnovers that has put the ball in the hands of the Eagle offense.
The Nittany Lions looked like they were going to score a touchdown but Cudworth ripped the ball out of the hands of Penn State’s Michael Zordich at the one-yard line for his second forced fumble of the season.
“Justin is flying around and making plays and getting better,” English said.
(Marcus)English was named Mid-American Conference West Division Defense Player of the Week for the week of Sept 10, he won the honor after making 10 tackles against Alabama State University.
The defense will be watching and will be trying to contain the Zips leading runner Jawon Chisholm, he has rushed twice this season over 100 yards and he has found the end zone once this season and so far Chisholm rushed this season for 410 yards.
The linebackers and the secondary for the Eagles will blitz and apply pressure forcing the collapse of the pocket around Akron quarterback Clayton Moore.
Moore has completed 47 percent of his passes for 682 yards and five passes have found receivers for touchdowns.
Eastern Michigan University has it’s own fate in their collective hands, for the first time since the 2005 football season the Eagles will play eight straight Mid-American Conference games to close out the season.
Getting off on the right foot and giving notice to the other teams in the league, that Eastern Michigan University football will be physical and that the 36th season might be a special season and bring something new to the coty of Ypsilanti - a winning football season.
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.