Eastern Michigan Eagles
Preview 2008 -
2008 EMU Offense
2008 EMU Defense
2008 EMU Depth
2007 CFN EMU Preview
2006 CFN EMU
What you need to know:
The offense made big improvements
last season in all areas after a rough 2006, and now the
potential is there for a big year with seven returning starters
and plenty of depth all the way around. The offense begins and
ends with the quarterback production. Allegedly there's a
quarterback battle, but Andy Schmitt is the veteran who makes
the attack go with his feet and an improving arm. The offensive
line doesn't have any stars, but it's not that bad and it's full
of big, experienced players who'll be looking to be more
physical. The big question marks are at running back and
receiver. There's experience at receiver, but no one stands out.
Five backs will be working to get the running game going with
big, fast Terrence Blevins looking to have a breakout senior
Passing: Andy Schmitt
164-255, 1,613 yds, 14 TD, 6 INT
Rushing: Andy Schmitt
67 carries, 279 yds, 6 TD
Receiving: Jacory Stone
47 catches, 462 yds, 3 TD
Star of the offense: Junior QB Andy Schmitt
Player who has to step up and become a star: Senior OG
Unsung star on the rise: Senior RB Terrence Blevins
Best pro prospect: Senior OT T.J. Lang
Top three all-star candidates: 1) Schmitt, 2) OG Andy
Fretz, 3) Blevins
Strength of the offense: Quarterbacks, overall experience
Weakness of the offense:
Proven number one receiver, proven running backs
Projected Starter: Junior Andy Schmitt at
times can be one of the MAC's best all-around quarterbacks and
can carry the offense all by himself, but he has to stay
healthy. At 6-4 and 238 pounds, he's a big force when he gets on
the move running for 279 yards and six touchdowns with five of
them coming in the final two games against Bowling Green and
Central Michigan. Without much of a receiving corps to work with
he threw for just 1,613 yards and 14 touchdowns, but he
completed 64% of his passes and only tossed six interceptions.
Three of those picks came in one game, the loss to Vanderbilt,
and he only threw one interception over the final six games. The
big key is his health, most specifically a shoulder problem that
required surgery two years ago and was an issue last year.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Kyle McMahon
is being given every shot to win the starting job, but that
might be just talk. Andy Schmitt is the main man, but
considering his history of getting hurt, McMahon has to be at
the ready and will certainly get a shot if the offense isn't
moving. The 6-3, 208 pounder can move with 135 rushing yards and
two touchdowns in seven games of action, and he showed against
Northwestern that he can throw bombing for 282 yards. However,
interceptions are an issue throwing nine, including three
against the Wildcats, with only three touchdown passes.
Redshirt freshman Jason Williams will be the No. 3 man, which could
quickly turn into the starter job with the way Schmitt and
McMahon take shots. The promising 6-3, 191-pound
prospect is a good runner with a big upside.
Watch Out For ... no real quarterback controversy.
The coaching staff might be giving McMahon every chance to
win the starting job, but as long as Schmitt is healthy,
and as long as the game isn't a blowout, there's no real doubt
who the top guy is.
Strength: Running and size. The four quarterbacks
are huge averaging around 6-3 and 220 pounds per man. All four
can move and all four can be the main man for the running game.
Weakness: Passing efficiency. It's not necessarily the fault of
the quarterbacks considering EMU doesn't have a refined passing
attack that pushes the ball deep, but the offense has to be
better on third downs and it has to start pushing the ball deep
a little more.
Outlook: This will be one of the team's strengths
as long as everyone is healthy. Schmitt is a big, mobile
veteran who can be one of the MAC's best weapons when he's not
having shoulder problems. McMahon has to be a more
consistent passer, but he's a good runner who could be a major
part again if Schmitt isn't doing the job. Williams fits the EMU type of big, mobile quarterbacks.
Projected Starter: Senior Terrence Blevins
will get the first look at the starting job, but he'll have to
battle to keep it. At 6-1 and 226 pounds, he's a big back with
lineman strength and 4.5 speed, and now he has to put it all
together to be a factor after rushing for just 84 yards on 19
carries. The team's biggest back, he has to bring more power to
the ground game.
Projected Top Reserves: Sophomore Dwayne Priest
played in every game but one last season rushing for 180
yards on 3.2 yards per carry. A top recruit, he was known more
for being the Virginia state high school defensive player of the
year as a safety, but he also ran for 1,548 yards and 20
touchdowns in his senior season. He's tremendously quick and
could be used more as a receiver after catching nine passes for
108 yards and a score.
Former receiver Corey Welch will be in the hunt for the
starting job all season long. The redshirt freshman is 5-9 and
182 pounds with tremendous speed. He could be a home run hitter
who's used in a variety of way.
5-8, 167 pound sophomore Jayson Jones is a pure scatback
who'll combine with sophomore Maurice Goodrum as two top
backup options. Goodrum ran for 69 yards on 16 carries as a true
freshman but suffered a knee injury. He has the talent to become
a starter at some point, but he has to get healthy and was
behind the eight ball after missing spring ball.
Watch Out For ... Blevins. EMU always seems
to get production out of running backs when the light turns on
late in their careers. Pierre Walker, last year's leading
rusher, didn't kick it in until late in the year. Blevins
appears to have taken over the leadership role and he's the one
big back in the rotation.
Strength: Quickness. Blevins is a speed back with 4.5
wheels, while the rest of the backfield is loaded with smallish,
quick backs who can take off for big dashes at any time. They
can all be used as receivers and they can all make plays when
they get into space.
Weakness: Proven production. Out of last year's 1,878 rushing
yards, 838 came from Pierre Walker, 279 from QB Andy Schmitt and
135 from QB Kyle McMahon. 18 of the 20 touchdowns are also gone.
Outlook: Helped by the quarterbacks, the EMU
running game was decent last year averaging 156.5 yards per
game. Blevins is an interesting prospect, but he hasn't done it
yet and has to prove he can handle the workload as a senior.
There are four quick backs ready to form a good rotation behind
the 226-pound Blevins. Priest, Welch, Jones and Goodrum could all see plenty of work.
Projected Starters: 6-1, 190-pound junior
Jacory Stone took over lead receiver making 47 catches for
462 yards and three touchdowns. He's a physical target with the
straight line speed to get deep on a regular basis, but it
didn't happen last year averaging just 9.8 yards per catch.
While most of his production came in a two-game stretch against
Ohio and Northwester, catching 17 passes for 147 yard and two
touchdowns, he was a relatively steady player. Now he has to do
more on the outside X.
Stone might have been the leading receiver, but 5-8, 170-pound
junior DeAnthony White was the breakout star with 33
catches for 357 yards and three touchdowns. While the stats
might not be impressive, he showed great flash and was a
dangerous runner from time to time out of the backfield
averaging 7.9 yards per carry with a 68-yard score against
Northern Illinois. Technically the backup behind Tyler Jones at
the H, White will start sooner than later.
Sophomore Tyrone Burke will start on the inside Z
position after catching ten passes for 184 yards and two scores
closing out with a four-grab day at Central Michigan. He's a
smart receiver who's a physical 5-10 and 194 pounds. He should
be able to handle himself well on the inside.
Losing tight end Ken Bohnet hurts, and it's up to 6-3, 230-pound
sophomore Josh LDuc to be a steady safety valve. He
didn't see much time last season and didn't make any catches,
but he has decent enough hands to make 15 to 20 grabs. He might be the key to the short passing game early
Projected Top Reserves:
Former quarterback Tyler Jones is back at the H after
finishing fourth on the team with 29 catches for 341 yards and
three touchdowns. He'll have to battle for playing time with the
emergence of DeAnthony White, but the senior is bigger, at 6-2
and 218 pounds, athletic, and has the experience to know exactly
what he's doing.
Finding a spot somewhere in the rotation will be 5-10, 184-pound
junior Dontayo Gage, a former quarterback who was
supposed to be the team's most dangerous receiver but only made
11 catches for 104 yards. A quick 5-10 and 184 pounds, his real
worth is as a kickoff returner averaging 23.1 yards per try.
Redshirt freshman Trey Hunter
has all the talent to become a major gamebreaker. Potentially a
top punt returner, he'll start out behind Tyrone Burke at the Z
providing more size and even more of a flash. He'll get plenty
of chances to shine right away.
Pushing for the starting tight end job is 6-3, 260-pound JUCO
transfer Kyle Pollock who's coming off a decent 14-catch,
189 yard season for Allan Hancock JC in California. While he can
become a receiver, his main role will be as a blocker.
Watch Out For ... more competition for the starting
jobs. There just weren't enough big things happening in the
passing game last season and now anyone who shows a flash of
potential home-run hitting ability will get a shot to earn a
Strength: Experience. The steady-but-unspectacular
Travis Lewis is gone, but three of the top four receivers are
back along with a host of veteran backups ready to provide
options at every spot.
Weakness: Playmakers. White showed flashes and there
were a few big plays here and there, but there's no one in the
corps who'll keep defensive coordinators up at night.
Stone is a serviceable veteran, but he's not the true number one
who can carry a passing game.
Outlook: The passing game should be better on
experience alone, but the talent level isn't anything special.
Veterans like Stone, White and Burke
have to go from decent to great, while someone has to start
coming up with more deep plays to open things up for the running
Projected Starters: The offensive line could turn
out to be the strength of the offense, and the strength of the
line is on the left side where senior T.J. Lang and
junior Andy Fretz return after starting every game last
season. The 6-2, 285-pound Fretz is a former defensive lineman
who has grown into the job over the last few seasons. Physical
for the running game, he should dominate now that he knows what
he's doing. Lang is also a former defensive lineman and has been
a fixture at tackle over the last few years. He bulked up
big-time to get to 307 pounds on a 6-3 frame, and while his
strength has been as a pass protector, now he'll start to run
over more defenders.
Sophomore Eric Davis took over in the middle last year
and started the last six games. The 6-2, 279-pound center has
hit the weights hard over the last year and should be better
able to handle the full-time role. The former star high school
wrestler is a mauler who needs to dominate in the running game.
The one big loss on the line is Khalid Walton at right guard.
6-4, 280-pound junior Stephen Johnson is a veteran backup
who'll push for time at right tackle, but will start out at
guard. He started the final four games of last year
and helped spark the surge in the EMU running game. Like almost
all Eagle offensive lineman, Johnson started out on the
Looking to solidify the right tackle spot is 6-3, 284-pound
sophomore Bridger Buche after playing in six games and
seeing time at tight end. We was a top recruit for EMU as a pass
rushing defensive lineman, but his athleticism and strength will
now be used on the offensive side for the next three years. Once
he figures out what he's doing, he has the talent and potential
to be an All-MAC performer.
Projected Top Reserves: There will be a spot
somewhere for 6-5, 287-pound sophomore Dan DeMaster, the
team's most versatile lineman. The 6-5, 287 pounder started
eight games at right tackle and will move inside to guard where
he'll combine with Joe Charles on the right side. He'll likely
see a little bit of time at both tackle and guard spots.
6-0, 304-pound senior Joe Charles saw time in almost
every game as a backup and now needs to be steady from the
start. The former defensive lineman is a bowling ball of a
blocker and has no problem getting good leverage with his short,
squatty body type.
T.J. Lang is firmly entrenched at left tackle, but senior
Chris Larkins is able to step in and start if needed. While
he's not all that big at 6-2 and 273 pounds, the former tight
end can move and can be productive as a pass protector. Most
importantly, he's a veteran reserve having played in every game
Watch Out For ... better production for the running
game. Last year the goal was just to do something right. Now the
hope is to be more physical overall and start blowing lines off
Strength: Depth. EMU has had experience up front
for the past few years, but this season there's far more
potential and far more options. This could be the best line yet
in the Jeff Genyk era.
Weakness: The loss of Khalid Walton. Joe Charles and Dan
DeMaster should be a serviceable replacements, but Walton was
the big side of beef who got the ground game rumbling on the
right side. He's the one key missing ingredient.
Outlook: The O line made a big step forward last
season after an abysmal 2006, and now the pieces are there to
take yet another step forward. The ground game got going late in
the year and the pass protection was solid throughout, helped in
both areas by having mobile quarterbacks. While there might not
be any all-stars, it's a good, sound line all across the front
with some decent backups waiting to step in if needed.