Frustrated Ron English calls Eastern Michigan's losing 'tough to swallow'
Eastern Michigan University football coach Ron English isn’t accustomed to being winless one-third of the way through the season.
And he isn’t about to get used to it.
English, 0-4 in his first season at Eastern Michigan, said he was frustrated after his team’s 24-12 loss to Temple -Â particularly with his defense that allowed 248 rushing yards and three first-half rushing touchdowns.
“I’m frustrated with the run defense. I’m frustrated, really, with the defense, period,” English said. “I mean, it’s ridiculous. The way we play defense here is a travesty. What we have to do is look at ourselves as a staff and figure out how to get this thing fixed.”
English lashed out at his team’s lack of energy in the first quarter, when Eastern Michigan allowed Temple to score on its five-play, 60-yard opening drive.
“If the issue is we’re coming out flat, then maybe we need to practice starting out practice with enthusiasm,” English said. “But believe me, we’ll get it corrected this week.”
English, a former defensive coordinator at Louisville and Michigan, is still getting his first taste of Eastern Michigan's losing tradition. English said he won’t accept it.
“To be honest with you, I’ve never met a winner that was a great loser,” he said. “I’m not a good loser. I’m just being honest. I’m tired of it at this point.”
And there’s no difference, English said, between Eastern Michigan’s close loss to Northwestern and the latest loss.
“Losing is losing. It’s the same to me,” he said. “It’s always difficult to swallow. Once you become accustomed to it and it’s easy to swallow ” English didn’t finish the sentence.
Temple coach Al Golden praises English English might not have been in the mood to hear it, but Temple University coach Al Golden had plenty of praise for English and his team.
Golden, the sixth-youngest Division I-A coach in the country, is a former defensive coordinator for Virginia and linebackers coach for Penn State. After taking over a beleaguered Temple program in 2006, Golden knows all about what English is going through.
When Temple won its fourth Mid-American Conference game in 2007, it was the most league wins for the Owls since 1967. Temple is 2-0 this season in the MAC, and Golden said English is on a similar track.
“Coach English and his staff are way ahead of where we were in years one and two,” Golden said. “I can tell you right now, this team is gonna win some games.”
Although Temple took a three-touchdown lead early and defeated Eastern Michigan, Golden credited the Eagles for keeping the score close.
“They’re competitive, they don’t beat themselves,” Golden said. “They had a chance to beat Northwestern, they were (in the game) against Michigan. That should say it all.”
No word from Eastern Michigan players Eastern Michigan players, for the first time this season, did not talk to media following their game.
After English spoke to reporters, Eastern Michigan staff told the media that players would not be available. Later, though, Sports Information Director Jim Streeter said that had been a miscommunication.
Players were going to talk to reporters, Streeter said, but everyone was gone by the time they were ready.
James Briggs covers sports for AnnArbor.com. Contact him at 734.623.2557 or firstname.lastname@example.org.