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Initial EMU Thoughts

logo200Not gonna lie, writing this is way more enjoyable than last week. Whereas last week it was a chore to not overreact and assume the sky was falling, the chore this week is to not place too much glory on top of this win. The Cards won, and I am ecstatic about that, but Eastern Michigan just isn’t that great of a football team. Beating anyone 51-20 is a great thing, and to do so after a morale murdering loss at North Texas is even more reason to be happy, but I’d say that was equal parts EMU awfulness and BSU greatness. However, a thumping is a thumping, and after the turd of last weekend I would have been fine if the Cards beat Northside Middle School by 31.

The offense was exactly what we expected and hoped for, and that was a welcome change from last week. Same for the defense. There were certainly defensive issues, but that’s to be expected and will be going forward. The defense doesn’t have to win games, it just has to not lose them. Special teams? Meh. Another botched snap on an extra point and I’m going to destroy something beautiful. I thought the coaching staff called a great game and there were no head scratching play calls or decisions which I couldn’t say after last week.

Some other thoughts on the win…

  • The Jamil Smith reverse was something I’d been curious why we weren’t using for a while now. With speed like that and defensive assignments that are usually five or so yards off the line in coverage, I thought it was an opportunity for a while. After today, we may see it more and more and I’d be fine with that.
  • Keith Wenning was Keith Wenning again, throwing for 300+ and no interceptions with a couple TDs to match. There were issues with locking onto one receiver or forcing a pass into coverage, but all in all a very solid game for Keith and one he needed. Both for himself and for the fans peering over the ledge.
  • I’d say Quake Edwards made a pretty solid case for himself as the offense’s most valuable weapon. Horactio Banks and Teddy Williamson are good running backs, but this offense is built for Quake and he proved it. BSU just looks like a different team when he’s out there and he announced his return with authority going for three scores.
  • If the Martez Hester injury proves to be serious (which it certainly looked like) that will be felt by the defense. On offense it’s very much a next man up approach with the depth and talent there. On defense, the Cards have unproven youth on the depth chart, but keep in mind, Sean Baker was an untested unproven entity at one point as well.
  • The television coverage was awful. The broadcast was low quality and the commentary was even worse. I lost track of the number of mistakes or rambling comments and instead just focused on the game with the sound on mute. It does make me appreciate the good people in that business and I wish ESPN did a better job of managing their broadcast and their talent.
  • After tuning in it took approximately four minutes for a Stan Parrish clip and statement. I was worried we would have that crammed down our throats the entire game but save for one little segment it really wasn’t unbearable. Their comment of Stan as a head coach “didn’t work out so well” would be the understatement of the week for sure.
  • After the game was over, Bill Scholl could be seen with his arm around Pete Lembo, laughing and having a good time. It’s nice to see that when the prior coaching staff and administration never seemed to have those warm and fuzzy type of moments. A functional staff dynamic leads to good things.
  • It’s going to be hard for me to ever complain about BSU’s attendance again after seeing the hundreds of fans in the stands on Saturday. The official attendance was 5,402 and that seems pretty generous. Maybe they counted the players, staff, ushers, and concession workers.
  • I have a sinking feeling this is the last time we’ll see Ron English. He had everything going for him there compared to Pete Lembo in terms of a recruiting base, decent facilities, etc. and Lembo’s success just makes English’s lack thereof seem worse. If he’s back next year I’ll be shocked.

Final Word will be out tomorrow, but for now, let’s just focus on the fact that the Cards are 1-0 in conference and heading home for Toledo. Seven more MAC games stand between the Cards and Detroit, and with games like today, that goal is looking more and more attainable. 3-1 overall, 1-0 in the MAC, and what a difference a week makes. See you back here tomorrow.

3 Responses

  1. Good recap, but I’ll take issue with the comment on Ron English having it better than Lembo in terms of a situation. While EMU’s football facilities are certainly larger than ours, they’re about 20 years old and are pretty bare bones. Also, EMU suffers horribly in terms of their location: just seven or eight minutes down Washtenaw Ave. from the Big House.

    Picture Notre Dame Stadium being located where Muncie Mall is and you get a sense of what EMU is up against. Not only are they overshadowed completely, but a good chunk of their student body don’t even consider themselves EMU students. As I understand it from a few UM grad friends, it’s not uncommon for in-state kids who can’t get into UM to enroll at EMU and live in Ann Arbor with their friends who did, commuting over to Ypsi for class. Some boost their grades up to transfer in, others just commute all four years and assimilate and function as Michigan students in everything except their class work.

    I don’t think there’s any football program out there where it’s impossible to build a winner — but EMU probably has the most natural and permanent obstacles in their way preventing them from doing so. I’d grade any coach there on a major curve.

  2. Great points Papa Lou! Having said all that, Ron English may very well be Stan 2.0, a great coordinator with a myopic view but a not so great head man.

  3. Attendance figure seemed pretty accurate actually. I’m assuming ESPN3’s camera were set on the home side so you were mainly seeing the visitor side of the stadium. Me and my friends went up to the game (MACtion, $10 tickets first row at the 50 yard line and horrible attendance sounded like a good time) and there was more people than we expected on the home side. Visitor side had about 200-300 people at most. We walked over there a little bit prior to kickoff and it was literally a ghost town.

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