ROMULUS — A great day to celebrate Labor Day and here in the state of Michigan a great day for a walk across a bridge, walking in a park or just strolling down the sidewalk in the neighborhood.
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English wished his team was in the same neighborhood, heck even in the same city and state last Thursday night at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana.
The Cardinals defeated the Eagles 37-26, opening the 2012 NCAA football season in front of 12,725 happy Cardinal fans inside Scheumann Stadium.
The Cardinals dominated both sides of the line of scrimmage, they gained a total of 596 yards against an Eagle defense that just did not look in sync.
English said his defense just did not play well and when asked about the youth of the defense might have played a part of the Eagles defense poor performance English denied to make a commit.
“I don’t want to talk about that, I don’t know, I got to look at the tape on that deal. I know we had some issues with some of the guys that haven’t played a lot but I do not want to say that was it,” English said after the game standing outside the locker room. “I don’t know if our upper classmen played well. I don’t want to say that is it, I did think anybody played well on defense. I did not see one guy play well. I don’t want to say it was just inexperience, I mean we just didn’t play well defensively.”
Eastern Michigan University Defensive Coordinator Phil Snow did not know what to expect from his young players and he said as a coach you do not know how the young players will react with the crowd, the television or being on the big stage.
Like a kid in a candy store, English anticipated the start of the season and he said that he did not know what kind of team that he had because they had not faced any kind of adversity.
The Cardinals changed all of that because they gave the Eagles all of the adversity they wanted or could handle.
“I thought we were lifeless, for what every reason I don’t know, if it was the weight of expectation which can play a roll on young players and all of that stuff,” English said about is team’s ability to face adversity. “We did not look like we were having fun out there which we preach around here. We just did not look like we had a lot of energy.”
The Eagles behind 10-0 woke enough in the second quarter and scored 13 points and forced the Cardinals to start to sweat but the Cardinal offensive line found their momentum and dominated the final 1:28 of the first half. The Cardinal offense moved the ball in 10 plays and 65 yards giving Steve Schott a chance for a 29-yard field goal that split the uprights to tie the score at 13-13 at the half.
The Eagles offense started the second half with the ball and the a flicker of hope came on the second play of the second half when Eagle tailback Javonti Greene took the ball and slipped off of the right tackle and ran for 29 -yards but the hope for points fail as the drive stalled and before the band could find their seats the Cardinal offense scored 21 points in the third quarter.
English looked bewildered after the game standing outside of the locker room, he also looked to upset.
“We did some things like I said in the second quarter physically in terms of hitting people and forcing turnovers and that sort of things but I just did not sense a whole lot life on the football team,” English said. “We just seemed lifeless to me: we just didn’t seem to be ourselves. So I have to go back and see what we’re doing and change some things.”
The changes on defense will have to come quick, the Eagles will open the 2012 home schedule Saturday afternoon Sept. 8, at Rynearson Stadium against Illinois State University beginning at 1 pm.
Illinois State University offense gained 510 yards of total offense against the University of Dayton and the Redbirds defense only allowed the Flyers 138 yards of offense and defeated the University of Dayton 56-14, in front of 4,480 at Hancock Stadium.
English said before the game against Ball State University that his team is a confidence group and his players have confidence because they work hard. The Eagles will need to suddenly find some kind of spark, some kind of life against the Redbirds and show the confidence that English is ready to see on the field.
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.