Last season was a hard year for the Eagles. Forget the blowout losses. Forget the firing of head coach Ron English after school officials received a tape of English’s profanity-laced tirade at a team meeting. Instead, consider the team had to deal with the midseason shooting of receiver Demarius Reed during a robbery. The junior was making an impact, earning a starting spot in camp and playing well. No doubt the team would have suffered another dozen blowout losses to have their teammate back. It seems the death of teammates is something too many (one is too many) teams have to deal with lately, and it puts everything else into its proper perspective.
Now back to the more mundane side of football – play on the field. Let’s not beat around the bush here, Eastern Michigan didn’t have a very good team last season. In fact, EMU hasn’t had a very good team for a long time. The last time the Eagles had a winning season (6-5 in 1995), most of the current squad had yet to enter preschool. It’s not through utter lack of talent, the team has had some outstanding players over the years, they just don’t seem to have the overall depth to make a difference in games. The offense was mediocre at the best of times last season, and certainly wasn’t going to win games on its own, but the defense was…well, the defense was terrible. Stopping the run seemed to be nigh on impossible, giving up 3096 yards (258 ypg) and 43 TDs on the ground, while the pass defense struggled, in part because everyone was needed to stop teams from gashing the Eagles with the run. English and his staff are gone, and in comes Chris Creighton, fresh out of Drake, who has yet to have a losing season as a head coach. Can he rise up against the odds and maintain that streak this season?