Everyone is saying it. Coach Ron English needs to find solutions for the mounting problems of this football team quickly.
This season English picked up his first two wins of his head-coaching career. His first win came at Ball State, where the Eagles won during overtime.
Their second win came on the last road game against Buffalo. Both of these wins were against teams that were having just as many problems as the Eagles. One thing that has to be remembered is that both of these games could have gone either way.
Now for the million-dollar question:
What are these mounting problems and how should English attempt to fix them?
The first problem is the lack of consistent performance. There were games where the Eagles played extremely well, even if the game resulted in a loss.
The problem is we didn’t see that same performance in every game. Eastern played two very good games in weeks one and two of the season. In week one EMU played Army, losing 31-27, and in week two against Miami of Ohio, losing 28-21. Two weeks of good, consistent performance.
In week three the team completely fell apart when it took on Central Michigan and lost with a final score of 52-14. If we had played the same way that we did against Army and Miami of Ohio it is my belief the results would’ve been drastically different.
The second major problem the Eagles are having is that at best, its defense is weak. In 2009 the Eagle defense gave up an average of 427.2 yards a game. This past season that number was 454.1 yards per game. English even acknowledges that defense is still problem. A top priority for the Eagles should be to recruit talented defensive players.
One has to acknowledge we we have seen a decent amount of improvement from the Eagles this season. Most of which comes from starting quarterback Alex Gillett. This season, Gillett attempted 179 rushes and gained 955 yards which accounted for about five rushing touchdowns. Gillett completed 55.5 percent of his passing attempts to account for 13 passing touchdowns for a total of 1,633 yards passing. These are
impressive numbers for one person.
Another person worth mentioning is senior running back Dwayne Priest. At Buffalo, Priest gave a phenomenal effort, rushing for 192 yards and scoring three touchdowns. I think he can play football at the next level if given the opportunity to do so.
One thing that has to be said is that the Eagles had a better season than the 2009 season which resulted in a 0-12. Right now my biggest issue with this team is that progress is not coming fast enough. After two years we have only been able to pick up two wins, I think that that is a problem.
The school has invested in this program and now it is time for it to produce some results. I think that more people will be willing to support the team if they were given a good reason to believe in it. I am sure English knew, before he took on the job as coach at Eastern, that the team had a lot of problems. The question now is how bad do the Eagles really want to win and restore legitimacy to themselves? Only time will tell.