College Football Preview: The 2015 Eastern Michigan Eagles
Eastern Michigan Eagles Preview
2014 Record: 2-10
The Eastern Michigan Eagles look to end years of futility when they take the field in 2015
Overview: The Eastern Michigan Eagles have had their moments here and there but in major college football we measure success by wins and loss and the Eagles haven’t had a winning record since 1995. New head coach Chris Creighton has a proven track record in the lower divisions but he inherits a 2-10 squad that often struggled to score and defend so the fans need to be patient and hope Creighton’s experience pays off.
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Offense: The offense averaged 15 points but did show potential under freshman quarterback Reginald Bell who threw for nearly 1,300 yards with nine TD’s and six INT’s despite missing time with a foot injury in the 2014 opener. He also led the team in rushing with 723 yards and averaged 6.5 yards but he also fumbled eleven times and was inconsistent. Darius Jackson was the 4th leading rusher and receiver a year ago with 295 yards and 148 yards respectively and is now second in both areas thanks to graduation although three star recruit RB Breck Turner or Shaq Vann might be thrust in to the limelight. Dustin Creel is the top returning receiver with 228 yards on 24 catches with Indiana transfer Kevin Davis and JUCO transfer Cody Tuttle expected to help out. The offensive line returns two players with any real experience so this group needs others to step up while avoiding injury.
Defense: The defensive line returns all three starters including Pat O’Connor who had 14 TFL and a team high 7.5 sacks. The linebacking unit is loaded with the top seven back including Great Ibe who led the Eagles with 100 tackles with Anthony Zappone adding 66 stops. EMU did stop the run albeit not always but it was a strength even though opponents were able to bust some big gainers all too frequently. Defending the run might be a strength once again three of the top four are gone from the secondary. Safety Jason Beck totaled 64 tackles in 12 games but underclassman will be leaned on to produce and their success will determine how Eastern Michigan does against opposing passing attacks.
Special Teams: Austin Barnes will be handling the punting chores and he has a strong leg based on a 44.6 yard average on 22 boots while Dylan Mulder was 8-12 on field goals with limited range. Kenny Jones will likely handle kick returns while Dustin Creel will get first shot at handling punts but both areas are in need of an upgrade.
Outlook: The offense has potential to be better if Bell can avoid mistakes and make a few plays with his arm and legs but the line has to be solidified and the receiving corps and running backs have to help their QB out. The question is whether the defense and offense can both improve enough to be competitive and I don’t believe that will happen in 2015 although an extra win or so would be a marked improvement.