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Chris Creighton and the Football Factory

June 19, 2014

The suspense is over, Eagle Nation.  Today’s major historic announcement has come, and Eastern Michigan is getting a new field, but not just any new field, a new gray field.  And, not only do we get a shiny new gray field, but we also get a meme.  You want to play football at EMU…bring your hard hat.  You are going to The Factory.  I will do my best to address these developments in as non-satirical a manner as I am able to manage.

For starters, Eastern needed a new field.  The old field was beat up, and shabby.  While there is nothing mystical or historic about a new football field, even a gray one, it is nice to have a new surface for the football team.  If you are going to have a D-I program, you might as well have a field that looks the part.

The gray does nothing for me.  I hope it looks cool, and the players like it.  It doesn’t matter to me.   Unless the field can rise up and run a 4.4 40 yard dash, or kick a forty-five yard field goal, I refuse to get swallowed by the hype surrounding the new field.

My main concern was the money, and the field will be paid for out of revenue from payoff road games.  So when EMU is getting drubbed by Florida this September, I recommend you imagine little dancing gray football fields running across the TV screen.

The field, therefore, is a necessity, and the gray is a luxury.  I don’t believe the gray turf builds any kind of identity for EMU football on its own.  And in fairness to Chris Creighton, he said as much in the post conference comments.  Identity comes from winning, and it comes from style.  If you have a rugged, blue collar, hard-hitting football team, that will make itself evident over the course of a season.  Which brings us to The Factory.

Cool things come from factories.  Cheesecake, chocolate, tortillas, and well, that’s it.  Just cheesecake, chocolate, and tortillas, the rest have been outsourced to Mexico, Malaysia, Micronesia and some other countries starting with M.

I howled in protest at the Era of Excellence drivel.  I didn’t want to hear about an era, or epoch, or any other grandiose measurement of time for that matter, in regards to excellence until I saw results on the field.

The Factory doesn’t bother me as much.  Yes, it is a complete gimmick.  Yes, it hearkens back to the mother of all idiotic brandings, “Embrace the Process.”  But if the players buy in and EMU starts winning, then the snark will subside.  I suppose as a member of the media and EMU football writer I should start referring to Rynearson as The Factory, but I will not be able to do that right away.  I need results.

I’m circling October 11 as my decisive Factory day.  EMU will host Buffalo on that day, and if Eastern can beat the Bulls at home, I’ll call Rynearson The Factory.  Only then, after we beat Buffalo, and I can sink my teeth in the crusty bread of the Ontario Sandwich, will I call Rynearson The Factory.

Everything that has happened to the program since Chris Creighton’s hire has been a nice step forward, away from the awfulness of the Ron English era.  I’m so glad this is the case.  Truly.  But it is all window dressing.

I want to see players execute.  I want to see a scheme that maximizes the talent that EMU can put on the field.  I want to see crisp blocking and a gang-tackling defense.  I want to see kickers actually make field goals.

All this talk about the Process, Eras of Excellence, Factories, and gray fields is irrelevant.  I want to see quality football.

EMU will be lampooned in the media for this move.  USA Today has already deemed the field “ugly.”  (This from the newspaper that made itself famous for color graphics and articles written at a seventh grade level.)  That kind of criticism is part of the territory for EMU.  Until this program wins, they will be the butt of jokes in the college football world.  Let’s face it, Eastern is an easy target for haters.

Today changes nothing.  Eastern has to win to prove the program is relevant and sustainable.  Creighton has five years to make this happen.  If it fails, I wonder if this will be the last new field EMU will ever get.

Other Notes

  • A new field is not historic, no matter what color it is.  I was glad to get back together with the EMU Athletics magisterium, and to talk football, but the hype that preceded the press conference was a little much.  I can find no compelling reason why Jeremy Guy would lose sleep over this.
  • I did get to interview Pudge Cotton after the PC.  Pudge edged out Javonti Greene as the player I deemed “Most Underutilized of the Ron English Era.”  I’ll try to get his comments up tonight or tomorrow.
  • One thing to consider regarding the funding of this field, yes, the money is coming from away game revenue, but that is money that could go to fund other things.  Academic scholarships, infrastructure upgrades, living wages for adjunct profs.  It is important to remember that.
  • Finally, the new field does not address the lighting situation.  EMU still lacks HD capable lights, but I’m ok holding off on this expense.  Let’s win a few games and see what Creighton is capable of before we spend the next round of money.
11 Comments leave one →
  1. June 19, 2014 5:05 pm

    They haven’t won a damn game since Creighton got hired in here. ARGG!

    • Ken permalink
      June 19, 2014 5:06 pm

      Fire him now!!!!!

    • Jeremy Rosenberg permalink*
      June 19, 2014 5:25 pm

      That is a bit much, Alex, I’ve been nothing but positive towards Creighton. But when you’ve been suffering with this program for 20+ years, you want to see results, and you learn to see past the shiny, sparkly things.

      Shall I be expecting a puff piece on Hustle Belt?

      • June 20, 2014 2:20 am

        I think I was emulating the general response of this more than my interpretation of this piece. I get what you’re saying and I’m sorry if it has be misconstrued, but you can’t win games that haven’t been played yet. It’s a process, but at least there aren’t signs on the freeway telling me to embrace it, calling me a “Nacho Lover”.

  2. Ken permalink
    June 19, 2014 5:05 pm

    I got my snark out of the way already, so I will hold off judgment until all of the facts are in. My major concern is how this will look on a camera. I hope it doesn’t look too bad. But I’m with you in that this doesn’t fall into the category of major news.

  3. June 19, 2014 5:07 pm

    But on the quote about Javonti Greene, I agree 300%.

  4. June 19, 2014 5:15 pm

    EMU missed the boat by not going with the British spelling — grEy — with a big ol’ block E in the middle.

  5. art brooks permalink
    June 19, 2014 10:43 pm

    1-5 is a likely start, including two southern saunas. usa today and orlando sentinel had emu 126th and 118th. the players are the same. you start every game down, 21-0. god bless creighton for trying, although 400K-plus helps, but sometimes you wince listening to him. he’s not used to losing. the impact of 30,000 empty seats hasn’t hit him. i bet he’s way better than the three stooges who buried the program. but he ought to watch stuff like era of excellence. how about being mildly competitive first, coach.

  6. Kenneth Barna permalink
    June 20, 2014 9:37 am

    Gentlemen,
    Let’s take a deep breath and loosen up a bit. I agree with the fact that we have not won a game yet, but to start complaining when we haven’t played yet, is a bit premature.
    I don’t think Coach Creighton has any illusions of what lies ahead. He and Athletic Director Lyke are doing what they think are the things to help improve the psychology of this team. Letting the team know that the coaches and administrators are totally behind them.
    I think this team could easily be 2-2 after the first four games, but whatever the record I want to see competitive football. No more 50-20 blowouts.
    So, let us wait and see what happens after some games are played. If one wants to complain about the color of the field, okay, but don’t tie it to wins and loses.

  7. Jeremy Rosenberg permalink
    June 20, 2014 3:02 pm

    Kenneth, when I wrote: “All this talk about the Process, Eras of Excellence, Factories, and gray fields is irrelevant. I want to see quality football”, I meant just what you are saying.

    I’m not looking for a specific win/loss record from this team, at least not this year. What I am looking for is competitive football, one that displays the toughness and character that Creighton talks about. And like you said, an end to demoralizing blowouts, week after week.

    Despite my lack of enthusiasm, I do feel optimistic about this season and Creighton in general. My season preview for Saturday Edge expressed this.

    http://www.saturdayedge.com/17972/eastern-michigan-football-2014-spring-wrap/

  8. Ken permalink
    June 20, 2014 4:35 pm

    Honestly, I don’t think the team is as bad as their record from last year would indicate. Yes, they got blown out in quite a few games but I suspect that has more to do with a team that gave up on their coach more than anything. If the team were behind their coach, you would not have heard the recording of the locker room rant that lead to said coach’s firing (granted he probably would have been fired a couple of games later but still). There are quite a few bright spots on this team and if Creighton can utilize them well, we might get surprised. Looking at the schedule, they could easily be 3-2 when they return to Rynearson Stadium on Ocotober 11th. They should be able to beat Morgan State and Old Dominion, they might hang with Florida and the Spartans, I’m not sure on Akron…but I’ll go with the optimistic assessment there. Hopefully Creighton has a few more wrinkles in his offense than English did (but then again, my cat could probably have coached better than English). So we’ll see.

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