Eastern Michigan coach Ron English’s demeanor can often be described as intense or fiery, but he was more somber than usual at his postgame news conference following a 28-6 loss to Kent State on Saturday.
“All the losses are tough, but when a team really starts to care, then it becomes really hard,” English said. “These are young men. They’re not like older men. They’re not as hardened. So they do cry, and they do feel pain more than some older guys.”
He said he believes his team made a step in the right direction by becoming “emotionally invested,” despite being 0-6 (0-3 Mid-American Conference) midway through its season.
“I feel for them in one sense, but I’m really happy for them in another,” English said. “For these guys to actually feel defeat, I’m happy for them. I really am.”
First quarter woes continue
Whether it be slow starts offensively or allowing big plays early, Eastern hasn’t been effective in first quarters. In fact, it’s been outscored 65-9 in first quarters.
The problem certainly didn’t get any better on Saturday, as Johnny Sears lost a fumble on the opening kickoff – KSU recovered and eventually turned it into a 7-0 lead.
“I don’t know that it’s a slow start,” English said. “I think (that’s) what happens is when you give up a couple plays here and there. You just can’t do that. We still have to work on that.”
KSU scored on one play on its second drive and beat Eastern 14-6 in the first quarter.
With original starter Andy Schmitt out for the season with an injury, the Eagles have had to look elsewhere for quarterbacking. So far, it seems they’re going with a two-quarterback system.
Both Kyle McMahon and Alex Gillett took a fair amount of snaps against KSU.
McMahon was 5-of-10 passing for 30 yards and an interception. Gillett faired a little better, going 5-of-8 for 45 yards and had 10 carries for 75 yards.
“We wanted to do some things with Gillett, which you saw, and we think that Kyle can do a lot of the same things, but right now in his development (he) throws the ball a little bit better,” English said. “So we really wanted to use them both, and we feel like they both give us a chance to win.”
When asked about his quarterback rotation going forward, English was noncommittal.
“We haven’t decided that yet,” he said. “We usually decide on what we want to do game-plan wise Sunday night and Monday morning.
“It’s certainly an option. I think Alex did some great things, and I’m happy for him. I think Kyle did some good things. It’ll be interesting how it all plays out.”
McMahon has thrown for 336 yards on the season. While Gillett has thrown for 105 and rushed for 149.