YPSILANTI, Mich. —- Last week’s vacation from the grind of a long college football season concluded and so Eastern Michigan University went back to work in preparation for this week’s game against Ball State University.
The Eagles will take the gridiron Saturday afternoon against the Cardinals at the friendliest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference – Rynearson Stadium beginning at noon.
Eagles football coach Ron English said his team rested for a couple of days but continued to work in the weight room.
“It was a good time for us,” English said. “We did practice Thursday, we ran and lifted weights. We played eight straight games and gave some time off for the guys to freshen up and it is a good time for the coaches to get out and recruit a little bit.”
Now it is back to work for the Eagles and English said that the Cardinals are going to be a team on a mission and he is expecting Ball State University football coach Paul Tembo to have his team ready for the Eagles.
“They are excellent in what they do and what they do systematically in the passing game and there run game will test your discipline,” English said about the Cardinals. “There quarterback throws the ball well a second year man and I like there young back, they ran run hard they are physical and they make yards after contact.”
The Eagles will throw a lot of different looks at the Cardinals, mixing things up with their talented running backs and the quick-hitters in the passing game. The edge might will come from making points from recovering turnovers made by the defense and getting a big play from the Eagles special teams.
The Eagles have rushed for 1,809 yards through the eight games, giving the Eagles the 16th-best running game in the country this is the best ground game since the title winning team of 1987. English said if the Eagles continue to have success on the ground with such authority the Eagles will produce enough on most days to win.
English said the Eagles success running the ball all starts with strong and physical play from the offensive line being able to open holes for the talented running backs.
“On defense the challenge is they are going to show movement they have two tackles that are pretty stout and their linebackers can run,” English said. “The secondary is playing with enthusiasm and they are fun to play.”
“In this part of the country you have to run the ball and you have to be able to stop the run,” English said about his team’s running game. “Championships are won in November.”
The Eagles defense stopped a powerful Western Michigan University offense at the one-yard line to preserve the 14-10 victory against the Broncos.
The Eagles formula for success playing defense will be the same against the Cardinals, playing strong against the run, pressure from the pass rush and shut down the big plays.
The result so far of this year’s team is only a small stepping stone and according to English a program is like a good solid home a good foundation is essential.
“Players get more confident, more energy and up because you are still in the mix,” English said. “To be involved in a place that is improving and growing-there is some excitement there-it is a lot of fu for me.”
So far the roller-coaster ride that is this football season is a lot of fun for the football fans that follow the Eagles.
The overall record of 5-3 and the Mid-American Conference record of 3-1 and tied for second place in the West Division have many fans thinking of the idea of the Eagles flirting with a bowl bid is positively making Eagle football fans drunk with delight.
The Eagles do hold there collective future in their own hands and that is all right with English.
Ball State University will be ready to play because they have an extra and added incentive because last season the Eagles made the trip into Muncie, Indiana a memorable one by ending the longest losing streak with a 41-38 overtime victory against the Cardinals.
The Eagles will be rested and healed from all of those nagging injuries that happen to players during the season and they will be fresh and ready to continue the journey down the road toward Detroit.
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.