YPSILANTI — Your good old Uncle Mel made it back home to the city that sets beside the majestic Huron River and is celebrating the yearly tradition of the Heritage Festival.
The old weatherman cooperated and provided a beautiful weekend with plenty of blue sky above and enough breeze to carry the aroma of the delicious fare in the food vendors booths.
Uncle Mel had to make the short trip to the coziest football stadium in the Mid-American Conference and the home of the Eastern Michigan University Eagles-Rynearson Stadium to visit some friends and to take part of this year’s edition of Media Day.
Media Day is another tradition that is also held during the Heritage Festival celebration, it gives a chance for Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English to celebrate the upcoming season and take some time off of the busy schedule.
Practice have been though and have been focused on perfecting the passing game to combine with an all ready potent running game and giving the Eagles a balance offense.
English said his team is always working hard and that hard work is a key ingredient in having confidence.
“Our guys have put in an enormous amount of work,” English said. ’They trust their minds. The consistency of our program has certainly led to the guys believing in it knowing that they can have great success here. Hard work builds confidence transiting that hard work on Saturday and have success there that is how you get confidence. It is nothing magic about it.”
The Eagles football program will benefit as a team by having the same coaching staff for the past four years especially quarterback Alex Gillett.
English and Gillett have been focusing in getting the passing mechanics sharper in order to balance the offense.
Gillett stood with the sun beaming down into Rynearson Stadium and welcomed Uncle Mel.
“Trying to improve and get better,” Gillett said. “I feel pretty good and I am comfortable.”
Gillett also said that he feels good about being under the guidance of the same coaching staff for four years.
Getting help for the rushing game, the Eagles need to develop a passing game and English said that the receivers have been improving but he is looking for tight end Garrett Hoskins to be a major part of the passing offense.
Hoskins still trying to shake off the last offense play of the 2011 football season, he does not want to repeat the dropped pass.
“I never want that to happen again,” Garrett said.
Hoskins does make a nice target for Gillett, Hoskins stands 6-foot-2 and is 253 pounds he is nominated for the John Mackey Award which is given to the best tight end in college football.
Garrett said he is honored about the award but his priority is to get the Eagles to the Mid-American Conference Championship game at Ford Field in downtown Detroit.
“My focus is on is getting this team to Ford Field,” Hoskins said. “The only thing that I worry about fro a personal stand point is getting better every day.”
Feeling the warm August air, Uncle Mel was pleasantly surprised with a hand shake from Eastern Michigan University Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow.
Snow says his defense is getting into shape and is going to be better but because of being a young team he is concern about the inexperience of the Eagles.
“We are getting better and we have some young talent,” Snow said. “The first game being a league game that is huge and we have some young players that it will be there first experience and you do not know how they will react.”
Last season Snow told Uncle Mel that the Eagles stole a pretty good player in linebacker Justin Cudworth and this year the Eagles hidden jewel playing defense will be the transfer student-athlete from North Carolina State University and is from Detroit Donald Coleman.
Snow said Coleman will be in the defensive backfield and Cudworth will be leading a talented group playing linebackers.
“You can’t beat experience,” Snow said.
The experience of Media Day finished with a great big hug from English given to Assistant Coach Running Game coordinator/Offensive Line Kurt Anderson’s 2 year old son Torin.
With the sights, crafts and the cuisine calling Uncle Mel back to the center of the Heritage Festival it will not be long before the road to Muncie, Indiana will be beckoning Uncle Mel for the first football game of the season at Ball State University taking the spotlight of center stage.
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.