GAMEDAY: Virtual Playbook of EMU Offense & Defense

As part of our comprehensive "Gator GameDay" coverage, we'll be including a playbook style analysis of every upcoming opponent. Several plays on both the offense and defense are broken down and detailed to help give you a better idea of what to expect from the Eagles as they take on the Gators.

The Eagle Passing Game

The Eastern Michigan Eagles have a new offensive and defensive staff this season. No one really knows exactly what they are going to throw at the Gators on Saturday afternoon as a result. Here we provide you a glimpse of what they did against Buffalo last week:

With a mobile quarterback and a returning 1,500 yard rusher at tailback, the Eagles only threw the ball 20 times against Buffalo. They utilized the mobility of the quarterback frequently and had him throw from a moving pocket. They use the same spread formations the Gators use and last week they used a lot of 4 wide receiver sets. Above we see the quarterback sprint out to the right and has the option to throw to any of the three receivers on the same side of the field. The Eagles used this alignment and flooded the passing zone frequently.

They also like to throw screens when in this formation. Here we see a little flare-out screen to the tailback and the receivers are just responsible for blocking the guys in front of them.

The Eagle Running Game

Here we see a stretch play. The ball carrier is supposed to go to the outside leg of the far tackle, but if he sees a crease he can cut back in that crease. Also notice the direction of the quarterback. If he sees the right side defensive end crashing, he can fake the handoff and take off the other direction. This happenned numerous times against Buffalo.

The quarterback's mobility also plays a part in the option. The Eagles have a multi-option package -- sometimes with one running back, sometimes with two. Here we see the speed option to the outside. The quarterback baits the defensive end in and pitches the ball at the last second to the back that should be sprung loose.

The Eagle Defense

The Eastern Michigan defense has a standard 4-3 front alignment. The Eagles didn't substitute much personnel even when Buffalo went to an increased spread alignment. They like to play a deep "Cover 4" as seen above with the corners and safeties all dropping and the linebackers drop to a zone. The red areas show where the open spaces on the field should be. Of course this defense is not great against the run as the entire secondary and even the linebackers are falling back on the snap.

The Eagles also like to disguise their 3 Deep zone. They line up the same as their "Cover 4" and then drop the strong safety down. They often blitz a linebacker or two and drop a defensive end into coverage. Notice the two deep seams open when the strong safety moves down and the free safety moves to the middle of the field.

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