2009 CFN Eastern Michigan Preview
Eastern Michigan QB Andy Schmitt
Eastern Michigan QB Andy Schmitt
Posted Jun 9, 2009

Check out the 2009 CFN Eastern Michigan Eagles Preview.

Eastern Michigan Eagles

Preview 2009

By Pete Fiutak

- 2009 Eastern Michigan Preview | 2009 EMU Offense
- 2009 EMU Defense | 2009 EMU Depth Chart
- 2008 EMU Preview | 2007 EMU Preview | 2006 EMU Preview 

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Head coach: Ron English
1st year
Returning Lettermen: 45
Lettermen Lost: 13
Ten Best EMU Players
1. QB Andy Schmitt, Sr.
2. DL Brad Ohrman, Soph.
3. WR Jacory Stone, Sr.
4. SS Ryan Downard, Jr.
5. TE Josh LeDuc, Jr.
6. RB/KR Corey Welch, Soph.
7. RB Terrence Blevins, Sr.
8. LB Andre Hatchett, Sr.
9. OT Birdger Buche, Jr.
10. P Zach Johnson, Sr.

Eastern Michigan
CFN Prediction:
2009 Season: 0-0

9/5 Army
9/12 at Northwestern
9/19 at Michigan
10/3 Temple
10/10 at Central Michigan
10/17 Kent State
10/24 Ball State
10/31 at Arkansas
11/5 at Northern Illinois
11/14 Western Michigan
11/20 at Toledo
11/27 at Akron

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 4-8
2008 Season: 3-9

8/28 Indiana State W 52-0
9/6 at Michigan State L 42-10
9/13 Toledo L 41-17
9/20 at Maryland L 51-24
9/27 Northern Illinois L 37-0
10/4 at Bowling Green W 24-21
10/11 at Army L 17-13
10/18 Akron L 42-35
10/25 at Ball State L 38-16
11/1 at Western Mich L 31-10
11/22 at Temple L 55-52
11/28 Central Mich W 56-52

Can Ron English and a new coaching staff be all that's missing from an Eastern Michigan program that's been the doormat of the MAC for years? It's too optimistic to think that there can be an immediate turnaround, but for a team that hasn't seen much in the way of success, any change should be positive.

Just when it seemed like Jeff Genyk and the old regime was about to turn a corner, the defense continued to be lousy, the offenses was inconsistent, and the wins never came.
Not only did EMU win just two games against FBS teams, but it beat Bowling Green and Central Michigan by a total of seven points. However, there's experience and there are potential playmakers to build around right away.

There might not need to be a complete overhaul done, but there needs to be a lot of tweaking. The passing game that was so amazing and productive over the final few games of last year gets almost all the parts back, missing just WR Tyler Jones. QB Andy Schmitt is on the verge of becoming one of the MAC's best all-around offensive playmakers, while Jacory Stone is a top receiver and a No. 1 type of target to take the pressure off of everyone else. Throw in three quick backs and a veteran line, and the offense should explode at times now that English and new coordinator Ken Karcher can throw their ideas into the mix.

The defense is a different story with no size and lacking any sure-thing stars to work around. The best player is Brad Orman, but he might have to be used as an undersized tackle instead of his natural spot at end. There will be several other dilemmas for the staff to deal with, like a total lack of size all across the front seven and no proven playmakers at corner.

For English, who'll be cutting his teeth as a head coach after handling the defense for Michigan and Louisville, he has a decent situation to walk into. If Central Michigan can turn into a power in a hurry, then so can Eastern Michigan as long as the defense starts to improve and the offense becomes more consistent.

He has instilled more toughness into his team, and it showed throughout the offseason on the lines. Now it all has to translate into wins, or at least some more excitement for a program that's had just one winning season since 1989.

What to watch for on offense: The running game to take the pressure off the passing game. There won't be 80-pass games like there were at the end of last year with English wanting more production from the ground game. He praised the improvement of the O line as the offseason went on, and he has three nice backs in Corey Welch, Dwayne Priest, and Terrence Blevins to take the load off Schmitt, who has to keep his running to a minimum so he can stay healthy.

What to watch for on defense: The JUCO transfers. The line might have to go with defensive tackles that would barely be big enough to be linebackers for some schools unless two new recruits can step up and come through big, literally. Delano Johnson is a big defensive end prospect who has excellent upside, but it's 6-0, 290-pound tackle Ryan Leonard who could be the key to the defense. At his size, he has to be an anchor so Brad Ohrman can work on the end on a regular basis.

The team will be far better if … it can generate pressure into the backfield. This was a nightmare of a problems two years ago, and it was a problem last season with just 16 tackles and 56 tackles for loss. For a line that's built around speed and quickness, it has to start using it on the outside. Orhman is a great pass rusher who needs help around him.

The Schedule:
The Eagles have to come up big over the first half of the season because they're not going to be around much over the second half. They have winnable games against Army, Temple, and Kent State to go along with the tough road dates at Northwestern, Michigan, and Central Michigan all by mid-October, but things quickly change. Not only does EMU have to go to Arkansas on Halloween, but the game kicks off a stretch of four road games in the final five with the lone home oasis coming against a high-powered Western Michigan. On the plus side, playing Temple and Kent State from the East is a break. Akron is the other interdivision matchup.

Best Offensive Player: Senior QB Andy Schmitt. He won't get the press of CMU's Dan LeFevour or WMU's Tim Hiller, but he could be more productive. He was amazing over the last month of last year with 154 passes in the final two games, and now he'll have to keep on bombing to make up for the problems on defense. While he's a great runner, he might keep that to a minimum and leave the work to the veteran backs. He's too valuable to take a ton of hits.

Best Defensive Player: Junior DT Brad Ohrman. He's only 6-4 and 244 pounds, but he's a pure, tough football player who can shine inside or out. He's the team's best pass rusher by far and is an active playmaker. While he'll start out in the middle, he'll be better when he gets to move back to the outside. The 42 tackles, six sacks, and 11 tackles for loss were impressive enough, but the stats are even better considering they almost all came over the second half of last year.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore LB Marcus English. 437 tackles. That's how many Daniel Holtzclaw made over his great career. Now it'll be up to English, a far smaller but far faster option, to be the main man in the middle and he'll have to show he can hold up with everything funneled his way. He'll show off range, but does he have the toughness?

The season will be a success if ... EMU wins six games. It's not as far-fetched as it might appear for a team that's done nothing for decades. There must be wins over Army, Temple, and Kent State to set a base, and there will have to be a road upset or three over teams like Toledo and Akron. With so much returning experience and as much firepower on offense as anyone in the MAC, the potential is there to come up with a few shootout wins.

Key game: Sept. 5 vs. Army. There's no such thing as a layup win for EMU, and that includes a rebuilding Army team in the season opener. A win wouldn't exactly mean the English era has arrived after one game, but a loss would be disastrous with trips to Northwestern and Michigan to follow.

2008 Fun Stats: 
- EMU 1st quarter scoring: 35 - EMU 2nd quarter scoring: 125
- Net punting average: Opponents 40.3 yards - Eastern Michigan 34.6 yards (worst in the nation)
-- Passing totals in the final two games of 2007 - 108-for-156, 1,000 yards, 8 TDs, 1 interception

- 2009 Eastern Michigan Preview | 2009 EMU Offense
- 2009 EMU Defense | 2009 EMU Depth Chart
- 2008 EMU Preview | 2007 EMU Preview | 2006 EMU Preview