Eastern Michigan Eagles 2016 College Football Preview, Schedule, Prediction, Depth Chart, Outlook
2015 Record 1-11
Eastern Michigan Eagles 2016 Preview
The Eastern Michigan Eagles shoot for their first winning record since the 1995 season.
Overview: The Eastern Michigan Eagles long suffering football program hasn’t gone to a Bowl since 1987 and are hoping an experienced squad under third year head coach Chris Creighton has enough to reach the postseason but the defense has to improve to reach this goal.
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Offense: The Eastern Michigan Eagles were hoping for a big 2015 from quarterback Reginald Bell Jr. but he was hurt in the very first game and in stepped Brogan Roback who was actually very good with over 2,300 passing yards on 61% although a 16/11 TD/INT ratio wasn’t the best. Considering he flip flopped when Bell returned in game five hurt his numbers but the team is his with Bell transferring so expectations are high for the four star junior. With RB Darius Jackson taking nearly 1,100 yards and a 5.2 yard per carry average to graduation, the Eagles have Shaq Vann who totaled almost 600 yards and nearly six yards per carry while catching 37 balls to become the go to man in the backfield. Eddie Daugherty (37-557) is the top EMU receiver back with tight ends Cody Tuttle and Sam Browning combining for 57 catches and nearly 700 yards. The O-Line gets back everybody and features seven players with starting experience.
Defense: Regardless of what the Eastern Michigan offense is able to do or not do, the defense simply can not afford opponents to light up the scoreboard to the tune of 42 points. The return of DE Pat O’Connor who had 14 TFL and 7.5 sacks in 2014 provides an instant boost as does DE Jeremiah Harris who also missed 2015. With Mike Brown and Luke Maclean returning the switch to a four man front doesn’t look foreboding. New DC Neal Neathery ran a 4-2-5 alignment at Texas-San Antonio the past several years and that might suit the Eagles with seven of their top eight returning at linebacker so perhaps a good pass rush remains good and a poor run ‘D’ is at least adequate. The Eastern Michigan secondary was the best part of this defense in 2015 and should remain that way with ample depth and opponents preferring to run. Look for S Anthony Brown and corner DaQuan Pace to shine.
Special Teams: The Eagles need to find a placekicker but they are set at punter where Austin Barnes averaged 43.6 yards on 43 boots. Blake Banham and Daugherty will split time at KR while Banham will also bring back punts.
Outlook: The Eagles are a young team but do have experience and whether that means more wins is a wait and see scenario. Having said that, EMU is not deep and any injury might leave a void. I’d say 3-4 wins looks doable although more or less is also just as likely.
9/3 Mississippi Valley State
9/10 @ Missouri
10/1 @ Bowling Green
10/15 @ Ohio
10/22 @ Western Michigan
10/29 Miami (OH)
11/8 @ Ball State
11/16 Northern Illinois
11/22 Central Michigan