Interview: Eastern Michigan coach Ron English

The Army and Eastern Michigan football programs have a few things in common. Both are trying to rebuild and have employed new coaches to try to get the job done. Army hired Rich Ellerson and Eastern Michigan's new head man is former Louisville and Michigan defensive coordinator Ron English. The Black Knights open the 2009 season on Sept. 5 at Eastern Michigan.

Armysports.com recently caught up with English.

How are spring drills going so far?

English: We're getting better as we go. We have a long ways to go, but the biggest thing we need to change with our team, is just the mentality. Grow and become real good football players. We are working at it.

What are your main goals during camp?

English: We want to become a more physical team. We want to become better technically as a team. After that, it would be the installation of our base offense and defense. Before that, we really just want to learn how to become a physical football team.

Does your team have any key positional battles during camp?

English: Right now, they are all battling, I think. As a new staff, you have no preconcieved notions about who is where on the depth chart. So it's all been open so far. But they are competing pretty good I think.

What are the keys to rebuilding Eastern Michigan?

English: I just think we have to change the mentality. How hard it is to be good, how much detail it takes to execute at individual positions. That's really what I want to see change more than anything.

Why do you think you can pull it off?

English: I think we have good players and good coaches, guys who can teach. I think the support is great right now. I think it's a real good time because the athletic department is going to support this program. I feel good about that.

What do you know about Army?

English: I know that when I played at (California), coach Ellerson was at Arizona. I know that they play great defense. I know that I would anticipate them being a physical football team, and they are going to run the option. It will be an exciting time for us.

How do you feel about opening the season against Army

English: I think it's a challenge because of their option. You don't see that every week in college football. But the positive is, is that we have a summer to prepare for it. The kids can watch tape all summer and things of that nature. It's definitely going to be a challenge.

When do you really start thinking about that option?

English: I think you have to start thinking about it now and prepare for it now. Get the players prepared for it very shortly. Like I said, it's different than what you would see.

How much would it mean to Eastern Michigan to open 2009 with a win over Army?

English: It would be big because you get off on the right foot and develop some belief. So it's going to be very, very huge for us.We'll be trying our best as a staff and a program to get it done.


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