2008 Eastern Michigan Eagles Football Preview
Eastern Michigan (EMU) Eagles - Mid-American Conference (West)
EMU 2007 Record: (4-8, 3-4)
2007 Bowl: none
EMU Head Coach: Jeff Genyk (13-33 at Eastern Michigan, 13-33 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Scott Isphording
Defensive Coordinator: Jay Peterson
Returning Leaders for Eastern Michigan:
Other Key Returnees: G Andy Fretz, CB Lyle Garrison, DT Josh Hunt, CB Derrick Hunter, OT T.J. Lang, DE Spenser Smith, WR DeAnthony White, S Jacob Wyatt
Key Losses: TE Ken Bohnet, DT Jason Jones, WR Travis Lewis, LB Darran Matthews, RB Pierre Walker, G Khalid Walton, DE Eric Young
Finally Eastern Michigan has some depth to work with. Former starters like corners Lyle Garrison and Derrick Hunter are back, but their starting jobs are not safe as youngsters such as Arrington Hicks and Kevin Long look to crack the starting 11. Position battles like that will go all year long as the Eagles and Coach Jeff Genyk use their depth to find the best players.
Eastern Michigan's 2008 Strengths:
And it is in the secondary where EMU has the most potential. Free safety Ryan Downard is one of the best in the conference and senior strong safety Jacob Wyatt has plenty of experience. However, the unit might not rank 57 th in the nation in pass defense again if the frontline cannot replace Jason Jones and Eric Young. This is a not a team that will garner a lot of sacks, but it might be even worse this year without those two. Josh Hunt and Spenser Smith are the veterans who will have to make the line effective, but the expectations on sophomores Adam Brockman and Tyler Palsrok are rising after showing potential as freshmen. Linebacker Daniel Holtzclaw will be the leader of the defense after tallying a team high 125 tackles last season.
Eastern Michigan's 2008 Weaknesses:
The offense has potential led by quarterback Andy Schmitt. He has a decent arm and is pretty mobile, but he does not get much help. Jacory Stone is a decent possession receiver and DeAnthony White is a threat down the field. Junior college transfer Kyle Pollock could make a huge impact at the tight end spot. He is a solid receiver and, at 6-3 and 258 pounds, provides Schmitt with a big target. However, the passing game will continue to struggle if EMU cannot find a consistent rusher. Terrence Blevins, Jayson Jones and Dwayne Priest all saw a little action last year backing up the now departed Pierre Walker. At least one of them needs to become the go-to-guy if the offense wants to put up more than 338 yards per game this year.
The Bottom Line for the Eagles:
The increase of depth on both sides of the ball will be noticeable right away to followers of the MAC. With a few right bounces this is a team that could reach the six win plateau. Last season ended with a huge upset over in-state rival CMU and, if Coach Genyk can harness that momentum, Eastern Michigan will cause some teams fits. Whether or not they can consistently be competitive is another question.
2007 Team Stats for EMU:
Rushing Offense: 156.50 (54 th in nation, 4 th in conference)
Passing Offense: 181.00 (102, 12)
Total Offense: 337.50 (95, 11)
Scoring Offense: 24.17 (85, 8)
Rushing Defense: 195.75 (97, 9)
Pass Defense: 227.83 (57, 8)
Total Defense: 423.58 (90, 8)
Scoring Defense: 31.17 (89, 10)
Turnover Margin: .67 (22, 2)
Sacks: 1.42 (101, 12)
Sacks Allowed: 1.42 (24, 2)
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