2009 Eastern Michigan Eagles Football Preview
2008 Record: (3-9, 2-6)
2008 Bowl: none
Coach: Ron English (First year at Eastern Michigan, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Ken Karcher
Defensive Coordinator: Eric Lewis
Other Key Returnees: C Eric Davis, DE Brandon Downs, G Andy Fretz, LB Andre Hatchett, CB Arrington Hicks, G Stphen Johnson, CB Kevin Long, RB Dwayne Priest, DT Brandon Slater, CB Nate Wilson
Key Losses: RB Terrence Blevins, G Joe Charles, CB Lyle Garrison, S Dwayne Harrison, LB Daniel Holtzclaw, DT Josh Hunt, WR Tyler Jones, OT T.J. Lang, DE Spenser Smith, S Jacob Wyatt
Coach Jeff Genyk went 16-42 during his five years at Eastern Michigan. It was certainly time for a change and the Eagles picked up a great coach in Ron English. Coach English was the defensive coordinator for Michigan under Coach Lloyd Carr and spent one year at the same position with Louisville. While Coach English’s track record has not been that great over the last two years, he is a quality coach who is exciting the folks in Ypsilanti.
Eastern Michigan's Strengths:
The Eastern Michigan offense was surprisingly decent in 2008. Quarterback Andy Schmitt might not be the most dynamic quarterback in the conference, but he is a steady and efficient passer. Last year he threw for 2,644 yards and 15 touchdowns. The Eagles will not need Schmitt to win games for them, but as long he completes 63 percent of his passes and keeps the interceptions to a minimum, the Eagles offense should be in decent shape. Receivers Jacory Stone and Tyler Jones are both playmakers who can make things happen. That means even if Schmitt is having trouble getting the ball down field, he can still put it in the hands of Stone and Jones and they will make things happen. The team’s major weakness on offense was the ground game and the absence of Terrence Blevins will not make things any easier. Dwayne Priest will have to carry the load.
Eastern Michigan's Weaknesses:
The defense needs help and getting Coach English on board should immediately provide that help. If the line can actually get into the backfield, this defense might not be so bad. Ends Brad Ohrman and Brandon Downs are back and Ohrman could be a superb pass rusher after a successful freshman campaign. Yet, the rush defense, which ranked 12 th in the conference in 2008, could be worse without tackle Josh Hunt and that is not good news. Linebackers Jermaine Jenkins and Andre Hatchett better help out with the run defense or the rest of the conference will run all over the Eagles. The pass defense was pretty good in 2008 and should be again with the return of corners Kevin Long and Arrington Hicks.
The Bottom Line for the Eagles:
While Eastern Michigan had some decent wins in 2008, there is still room for improvement. The expectations should be getting higher and the team should be very happy to have Coach English on their side. The MAC West will be tough and Eastern Michigan will have to start at the bottom and work their way towards the top. It might take a little while, but most think that Eagles have the right man for the job.
By Joel Welser
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