The Eastern Michigan offense totally revolves around the abilities of two players. Quarterback Matt Bohnet and tailback Anthony Sherrell accounted for all but 5 yards of the offense against the University of Buffalo Bulls. Using a variety of zone runs, options, and draws, the duo combined to run 47 times for 243 yards. Bohnet lost 46 yards more on sacks.
Matt Bohnet is a transfer from Iowa. He sat out 2 plus years as a transfer and is his first game starting for Eastern Michigan as a junior. Backed up by younger brother Ken Bohnet, Matt is an athletic quarterback that will audible to a quarterback keeper on any down. He has a decent arm but threw the ball into the ground a few times against Buffalo. He coughed up 3 fumbles against Buffalo and that kept the Bulls in the game.
Anthony Sherrell is probably the Eagle's best player. He ran for over 1,500 yards last year and the 5-9 ½ senior is a scat back that can accelerate through a small hole and be gone. He is really dangerous and they try to get him the ball as many different ways as possible. Although he caught zero passes against Buffalo he was the team's leading receiver last year.
The 4 starting receivers for the Eagles had a combined 51 catches last year led by Senior Chris Talley and his 22 catches for 220 yards. He had all of 1 catch against Buffalo for 5 yards. The receivers caught only 11 passes vs. Buffalo.
The offensive line averages 6-4 and 320 pounds and is led by center Michael Rommeli and left tackle Tom Kaleita who both started every game for the Eagles last year. The three remaining starters have 4 starts amongst them and 2 have no experience at all. They are big and try to just get in the way.
If the Eagles put in a tight end it will be Adam Jacobs. The 6-2 ½ 224 pounder had 9 total receptions last year and 1 reception for 8 yards and one touchdown against Buffalo. He isn't much of a blocking threat, so don't look for him to be on the field very often.
The offense revolves totally around the quarterback and the running back. Often the quarterback looked like a ball hog as he kept the ball on runs designed for the running back. He coughed up the ball 3 times and was a big reason why Buffalo was in the game at the end. At the same time, he has some tools and can make plays. He can't be taken lightly. Sherrell is the real deal and behind a line that didn't do a whole for him up front, he made some things happen. He is lightning quick and can squeeze through the smallest of holes. The Gators need to find a way to contain these two and it will be lights out.
The defense returns 9 players that started multiple games last year. Last season they ran a 3-3 defense with a nickel type player. This year they switched to a regular 4-3 alignment with 4 secondary players. They return 4 players that started multiple games on the line, 2 at linebacker, and 3 defensive backs.
The defensive line starters totaled 122 tackles, 17 tackles for loss, and 8 sacks last season. Jean -Olivier Gagnon-Gordillo (try printing that on a jersey), had all of the defensive line's tackles for loss at 2 ½ and was responsible for ½ a sack. The ½ a sack was the entire entire defensive line managed for the game against Buffalo.
The linebacking corps is led by #18 Kevin Harrison who had 15 tackles against Buffalo. Harrison and Keyvon Barbee combined for 200 tackles last year at the linebacker positions. Barbee managed 9 tackles and 3 for loss against the Bulls last week. The third linebacker is the headiest of the group and one of those guys that seems to be in the right place at the right time. Steven Bednarik had an interception and 2 pass break-ups against Buffalo while totaling 6 tackles himself.
The defensive backfield sports 4 senior starters and 3 that started last year. Safeties Rontrell Woodruff and Jerry Gaines totaled 19 tackles against Buffalo. Gaines showed blazing speed as he recovered a fumble near the line of scrimmage and blew away everyone else on the field on the way to an 82 yard fumble return. Cornerback Chris Roberson was very active in the game and had 8 tackles and 6 pass break-ups. Cornerback Steven Lewis had 5 tackles, 2 pass break-ups, and a Keiwan Ratliff like interception during the Buffalo game.
The defense lives and dies from their back 7. As much experience as the defensive line has, they show little to no push at the quarterback and not much desire to get to the ball carrier. The linebackers are tackle machines and #45 Bednarik will seemingly come out of nowhere to make a play. Unfortunately for the defensive backs, they are forced o make a lot of tackles too, but they do just that. The Eagles have some real speed in the defensive backfield and can take a turnover to the opposite end zone in a real hurry. Still, the stat that stands out in the Buffalo game and is apparent watching film was 2 sacks in 46 pass attempts, and only ½ by a defensive lineman. Chris Leak should have all day to throw.
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