Scouting EMU Eagles: The Defense

The Eastern Michigan Eagles come into Spartans Stadium sporting a little bit of a swagger and who could blame them? After opening up a 52-0 can of whipping on Indiana State, the Eagles, one of the favorites in the MAC East are looking for more.

The Eastern Michigan Eagles come into Spartans Stadium sporting a little bit of a swagger and who could blame them? After opening up a 52-0 can of whipping on Indiana State, the Eagles, one of the favorites in the MAC West are looking for more.

"They're a little bit like our defense," explained Coach Mark Dantonio. "Coach (Pat) Narduzzi, he worked with their defensive coordinator Jay Peterson, so they're a little bit like our defense, but they've been a little bit more... a different scheme this past week.

Dantonio explained the wrinkle that Eastern Michigan unveiled.

"It was a little bit more of a 'bench' scheme or an 'under' scheme, because of the linebacker at the end of the line of scrimmage.

"We'll see what they come in here with, but they definitely have some patterns that parallel with ours," he said.

Dantonio talked about his opinion of the Eastern scheme and how the Spartans might attack it.

"They're active and they run, their linebackers will run, they're going to fly around. I was impressed with the way they played last Thursday. They flew around made plays and ran to the football."

In the "under" scheme that Dantonio referenced, five men, including a linebacker on the strong side of the formation, line up on the line of scrimmage, giving the unit a more stout, run stopping look.

The Eagles used the scheme to stop the Sycamores from running the football early and then went on to dominate time of possession.

Look for Michigan State to attack the scheme with short passing like slant routes, passes into the flats and routes to the tight ends between the linebackers.

If MSU is successful, it will force Eastern to back that extra defender off the line of scrimmage and giving senior tailback Javon Ringer running room.

The success or lack of it for Eastern should be apparent early on. If the Spartans are able to move the chains, look for the Eagles to quickly abandon the scheme in favor of a more traditional Cover Two look.


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