Spring Football Game 2012
As I sat in the rain-dampened stands at Rynearson Stadium today, I came to two different, but unmistakable conclusions. One, it felt great to be back at EMU’s football palace watching the old Green and White duke it out on the gridiron, if only in a scrimmage. And two, it is extremely difficult to form real impressions about the upcoming season from such a small sample of play. Still, as a humble correspondent for Eagle Totem—the premier voice of Eastern Michigan football—I’ll do my best.
The offensive starters certainly looked sharp, especially Senior Quarterback Alex Gillett. Our running attack should not miss a beat this year, perhaps we will even see improvement as the three-headed monster of Sherrer, Greene, and White will surely drive each other to perform at a high level. The passing attack should also be improved, although I didn’t see anything from our receiving corps that leads me to believe we will have an explosive threat on the outside. Darryl Stonum, where are you? The real improvement of the passing game comes from the one thing I believe I can say with certainty after watching today’s scrimmage: there is real chemistry between Gillett and Senior TE Garrett Hoskins. Their timing already appears to be in mid-season form. This certainly bodes well for the Eagles offense.
There was an early goal line situation in today’s scrimmage. Anybody who followed the Eagles closely last year surely remembers the agonizing difficulty we had with our goal line offense. After getting stuffed on a typical run up the middle, Gillett bootlegged left and outran Andy Mulumba to the corner of the end zone. Where was that last year? Either way, it was nice to see.
The only other offensive information that needs to be passed on is that we had better hope that Gillett stays healthy. As for our backups, Tyler Benz is definitely ahead of Mark Iannotti, but truth be told the drop off is significant after Gillett.
While our defense did a nice job against the offense when Benz was in, they were picked apart by Gillett. I’m having a hard time assessing what that means, is our offense led by our Senior QB that efficient, or is our defense lagging that far behind. I daresay it is a mixture of the two. Our linebacker corps of Mulumba, Cudworth, and Weingrad is pretty solid, but the D-line needs to improve. Here’s hoping between now and September they get a little more stout up front.
As for the secondary, I feel we have a pretty athletic group back there, led by Marlon Pollard and Marcell Rose. New starter Sean “Pudge” Cotton (not sure why his nickname is Pudge, did he used to be a catcher?) was definitely involved on defense, and he should develop into a very nice strong safety for us.
There was one special teams play of note. On the first kickoff, Sophomore Tyler Allen scampered 97 yards for a touchdown, much to the delight of the crowd. For me, while I certainly appreciated Allen’s burst of speed to break through, the coverage was atrocious. The crowd was cheering and I was burying my head in my hands. We have got to improve this or our potentially suspect defense will be looking at their opponents starting near mid-field after every kickoff.
Our offense has the ability to control the clock. This is of utmost importance, because while I believe that our defense will improve, we need to limit the defensive exposure if we truly expect to win a MAC title. No doubt Ron English and his staff know this as well, so the optimism on campus for the 2012 Eagles Football team is warranted. Let’s just hope that Alex Gillett and our O-line can stay healthy for the duration of the season.