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Eastern Michigan Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 07/27/2008
No. 115 Eastern Michigan Eagles
2007 Record ~ 4-8 SU ~ 4-7 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (7) Defense (8)
This is a crucial year in Ypsilanti. It will be the fifth season under head coach Jeff Genyk and this is usually the time when we find out whether the program has improved or whether it is time to move on again. After a 1-11 campaign in 2006, the Eagles picked up three more victories last season although one of those came against 1-AA Howard. The numbers werenâ€™t horrid but they were not good either. Eastern Michigan cannot compete with the upper class of the MAC and a losing season for a 13th straight year is likely.
The offense showed some very good things last season. The Eagles finished 54th in rushing offense thanks to putting up monster numbers in the final four games of the season. The problem is leading rusher Pierre Walker is gone and the leading returning runner is quarterback Andy Schmidt and he is far from a running quarterback. Schmidt has what it takes to be an efficient passer but a running game needs to be established for this to happen. Four starters return along the offensive line.
Defensively is where the struggles are likely to happen again. Eastern Michigan could not stop the run last year and that was with two star players in Jason Jones and Eric Young along the defensive line who are no longer there. The Eagles allowed 5.2 ypc and that simply will not get it done. The secondary is in fine shape with all four starters returning but because of that, the opposition will be keying on that running defense. Eastern Michigan was +11 in turnover margin, a number not likely to be repeated.
The schedule is soft in the middle after a tough start but heats up down the stretch and that could keep the Eagles from breaking through. Indiana St. is the first opponent but after that comes road games at Michigan St. and Maryland sandwiched around a home games against Toledo. The final four games are tough with three coming on the road and then the season finale at home against rival Central Michigan. Until this team can stop the run, there is no way this team should be backed as more lopsided losses are expected.