Random Thoughts: Eastern Michigan Eagles

Unlike their big Blue and Gold brothers, The EMU Eagles are going from a Spread Offense to a Pro Style set and bring a 3-3 Defense into Evanston. Does that mean anything? daCoach has some thoughts....

In his first year in the MAC
1. Pro Set in Lansing: The Eagle's new head coach, Ron English, has installed a pro style offense behind 2 year starter Andy Schmitt. Against Army, Schmitt threw 31 times, and completed 18 for 83 yards, but the Black Knigthts defense sacked him 6 times, and registered 53 yards lost by the QB during the game.

2. The key to their new game? According to Schmitt - Establish the running game, something EMU had trouble balancing with protecting the quarterback. Schmitt was sacked 6 times by Army, and their backs had only a net gain of 40 yards. EMU's feature back, Dwayne Priest, did gain 83 yards and score once but overall there were as many Army players in the EMU backfield as Eagles.

3. Big or Just Slow? The EMU O-Line is certainly Big 10 sized - 300+ lb tackles, guards in the 290's, but they couldn't stop the Army defense from getting to the QB or get the rushing game going. They'll probably be better this week

4. A thought or two about the EMU Defense: Ron English is a defensive guy, and has installed a 3-3 with a "Star" back. It was effective against the Army passing game - they completed only 8 yards but when you are gaining 6+ yards per carry on the ground, why throw?

Senior #25 Jermain Jenkins is the "star" in this spot - Jenkins is really small for a backer, almost safety size (218 6-0) and there isn't anyone listed behind him in the depth chart. Interesting set, but you'd think against a running team like Army he would have had more than 1 tackle.

5. Overall their Defensive Ends seem small, almost linebacker size. Their Backers are safety sized. And the rest, well you get the picture - its a small defense - the biggest guy on the 2 deep is 285 DE Ryan Leonard and he's #2

However, if size equates to speed, our O-Line will be tested Saturday.

6. Meanwhile, Northwestern's top cornerback, Sherrick McManis, is listed a doubtful for the game, leaving the coverage of EMU's top receiver, Jacory Stone, to junior Justan Vaughn. The Cats will also be missing big Adam Hahn in the middle, altho the Wildcat linebackers stuffed Towson's running game fairly well.

This game could become a better test for the Wildcats than you think - with an improved O-Line and a small but quick defense, EMU could stick around Saturday. They finally got 2 TD's late to make the game interesting last week and you can be sure they'll go for a few scores early.

And yes, NU's Arby Fields will drink lots of Gatoraide tonight.
da Coach
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