|Eastern Michigan in midst of rough season (11-22-13)|
|Written by By JACK CARLE, Sentinel Sports Editor|
|Friday, 22 November 2013 08:49|
It’s been a rough season for the Eastern Michigan football team.
Off the field, Demarius Reed, a wide receiver for the Eagles, was shot to death in his off-campus apartment on Oct. 18.
Then on Nov, 8, head coach Ron English was fired after EMU was off to a 1-8 start, including an 0-5 mark in the Mid-American Conference. In the final season of a five-year contract, English was 11-46 and 7-30 in the MAC in four-plus seasons at Eastern Michigan.
‘‘They have probably been through about as much adversity as a football team can possibly go through during a season,’’ BG head coach Dave Clawson said. ‘‘The tragic loss of a player ... that was just devastating for their program. He was a great young man that we tried to recruit ... And then their head coach getting fired.
‘‘To me the players have rallied around each other.’’
On the field, the Eagles have played the top three teams in the MAC West — Northern Illinois, Ball State and Toledo. EMU will have also faced three of the top teams in the MAC East — Buffalo, Bowling Green and Ohio — after hosting the Falcons Saturday. Kickoff is at 1 p.m. in Rynearson Stadium.
Eastern Michigan has also faced Rutgers and Penn State this season.
Stan Parrish, a former head coach at Ball State, was EMU’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach before replacing English on an interim basis.
Parrish led EMU to a 35-32 overtime win over Western Michigan in his only game as the EMU head coach.
‘‘I’ve been in a lot of locker rooms in 43 years and I don’t know if I have been in any more happy or relieved than ours in lieu of all these kids have been through this fall,’’ Parrish said about the WMU game.
Clawson was impressed with the Eagles performance against the Broncos.
‘‘These guys were playing inspired football,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘Coach Parrish has done a great job of getting those guys to play for each other, and to still play with effort.
‘‘They clearly did that against Western. To me they were playing excited football.’’
EMU has had two weeks to prepare for the Falcons.
The Eagles use the run game to set up their passing attack. EMU is averaging 164.2 yards rushing and 362.4 yards of total offense per game.
‘‘Coach Parrish has always done a great job with offense no matter where he has been,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘They have been a good offense, I’m not just saying that because they are the next opponent.
‘‘If you look at where they are statistically in the conference, it certainly doesn’t look like the offensive numbers of a 2-8 football team.’’
Ryan Brumfield and Bronson Hill provide the running threat for the Eagles.
Brumfield was the MAC West offensive player of the week after the WMU game as he rushed for a career-high 148 yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries. He leads the team with seven TDs this season.
Hill is averaging 103.1 yards per game, and needs 72 yards to reach 1,000 yards this season. He has 111 yards and a TD on 24 carries against WMU.
Brumfield and Hill are running behind an offensive line, on which all five starters tip the scales at over 300 pounds.
Freshman Brogan Roback, from Toledo St. John’s, is expected to be the quarterback.
‘‘Offensively, they really challenge you,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘They line up in a lot of sets. They create extra gaps.
‘‘It’s a lot different from the types of offenses we’ve been seeing.’’
On defense, Clawson said the Eagles have simplified their schemes and are playing faster under Parrish.
‘‘Defensively I thought they really got after it against Western Michigan,’’ Clawson said. ‘‘Their kids played hard. They can rush the passer. They had a few blitz change-ups that put stress on productions, and stress in the run game.’’
Linebacker Ike Spearman (73) and safety Mycal Swaim (72) lead the Eagles in tackles.
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