ROMULUS, Mich. — Oh man can you smell the sweet smell of victory!
Uncle Mel and all of the nieces and nephews that follow the Eastern Michigan University football team is still reveling in the Homecoming 14-10, victory over Western Michigan University, Saturday afternoon at Rynearson Stadium.
Many nieces and nephews are looking at the overall record of 5-3 and a Mid-American Conference record of 3-1 and smiling.
Uncle Mel is thinking that the Eagles hold there conference fate in their collective hands.
Rumor are running rampant and there are a few Mid-American Conference executives that might be pacing and staying up late at night because of the Eagles. This football program is interrupting day-to-day activity causing havoc and worry inside the office of the Mid-American Conference Commissioner Dr. Jon A Steinbrecher located in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.
Now nieces and nephews please indulge in an old man wishes but let say that the Eagles win the rest of there games which are league opponents, there could be a bowl trip to the Little Ceaser Pizza Bowl played December 27, 2011 at Ford Field located in the Motor City – literally a 40 minute drive if you drive the speed limit down interstate 94.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English is proud of his team but most important he is relieved that his program is taking root and growing into a positive football program that represents Eastern Michigan University.
“I am a dreamer and so I have dreamed about this. You know I believe that it is just going to get better and better here and bigger and bigger here,” English said after the Eagles victory over the Broncos. “So I am just glad for all of the people that can be involved.”
There are many football fans that follow Eastern Michigan University and are looking at this football team with a renew hope and a pride that was dormant for decades.
They have to look no farther than the improvement of the Eagle defense.
Uncle Mel’s description of the defense last season was not flattering but accurate – they were a bad performing squad.
There were too many missed tackles, too many missed assignments and just too many questions about the players and the commitment to the program.
Last season the Eagles defense were ranked 13th out of 13th in the Mid-American Conference – that is dead last!
The Eagles overtime victory against Ball State University last season ended the longest losing streak in the NCAA, the defense did make some timely stops against the Cardinals and the defense led the way on the road against the University at Buffalo.
The defense for the Eagles played inspired and they were physical against the Bulls and the Eagles defeated the Bulls 21-17 winning for the second time last season.
It was a glimmer of hope for English and for the Eagle football fan.
Eastern Michigan University defensive coordinator Phil Snow and English stayed up many nights looking for answers for the play of the defense.
Snow said early in the season that the defense is going to be better and he said they are going to be more physical and more important the Eagles are going to be quicker to the ball and a year of experience.
“This group is getting better, they have a lot of pride,” English said about his defense. “I think Phil Snow has a way of getting guys to play with a lot pride and so I am happy for them.”
Eastern Michigan University defense flexed there collective muscles and made two defensive stands against an explosive Western Michigan University offense.
“I thought Latarrius Thomas made two huge plays in there and that was a terrific play by him.” English said. “To get there those guys have to execute prior downs cover the guys that they are supposed to cover it was certainly a team effort.”
English said you do not want the game to be over before it is over you want to keep playing and you want to give yourself a chance to keep playing and he said that is why rival games are fun to play and watch.
“We all believe, when they got down, we all kept saying is that they have not scored yet,” senior defensive back Latarrius Thomas said about the defensive stand made by the Eagles “ They can come down but you do not get points for first downs and so you we kept on playing on through.”
The defense squad is playing well and there are many components reasons for the improvement.
The Eagles are getting numbers to the ball and making tackles.
The defensive line is producing pressure and winning the line of scrimmage and the defensive line is the benefactor of excellent line backing play and support but the group that is really gaining the benefits of the defensive line is the defensive backfield.
They have the time to keep the play in front of them and there is a remarkable improvement in coverage assignment.
Uncle Mel just like the Eagles will be taking it easy during the bye week and English is hoping to get the Eagles mend and healed and be ready to continue the season.
The Eagles next game will be November 5, 2011 at Rynearson Stadium against Ball State University with the kickoff scheduled for noon.
English and the rest of the football fans that follow the Eagles will be hoping that the sweet smell of success continues and not turn into sour stench of disappointment.
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.