Ron English says 2-0 Eastern Michigan is learning how to win, remains on the right track
Ron English isn’t sure how confident his football team is just yet.
What he does know, though, is that Eastern Michigan is 2-0 for the first time since 1989. And that, by itself, is two large steps in the right direction.
“I’ve had good friends of mine that have taken over programs like this and a part of it is getting kids accustomed to winning,” English said Monday. “You can talk about winning all you want, but they have to go out and do it.”
It wasn’t pretty, as EMU had a pair of turnovers and committed 12 penalties for 135 yards, but it was a victory nonetheless
And though it was EMU’s second straight win over an NCAA Football Championship Subdivision opponent (the Eagles smacked Howard 41-9 on Sept. 4), it came against a team that lost by five points in the Southwestern Athletic Conference championship game a season ago.
“Last week’s game was critical for us,” said English, whose career win total at EMU has doubled already this season. “(Alabama State) understands winning. They played four quarters, they didn’t make nearly the mistakes we made, they had three penalties and turned the ball over once to our two times.
“I feel like we have a foundation laid. We’re able to compete in terms of recruiting, we have facilities that allow us to be competitive in this league. ... I feel like we are on the road that we need to be on.”
The season is just two weeks old, but EMU has a few things to hang its hat on.
The Eagles have rushed for an average of 331 yards per game over their first two contests, the fifth-best average in the country. English’s defense has also had statistical success. The Eagles are eighth in the country in points allowed (8.0 points per game) and ninth overall in total defense (212 yards allowed per game).
Senior linebacker Marcus English also was named the Mid-American Conference's Defensive Player of the Week following the win over Alabama State.
EMU’s two-headed running back duo of Dominique Sherrer and Javonti Greene have combined to rush for 497 yards over the first two weeks. Sherrer did leave last weekend’s game with an apparent knee injury, but English said Monday that the team was “in good shape” health-wise this week, and Sherrer was listed as the No. 1 running back on the team’s depth chart.
Saturday’s test will be an entirely different obstacle for EMU, though.
Michigan is a long way from Howard and Alabama State, and English -- who spent five seasons on the Wolverines coaching staff from 2003-05 -- is fully aware of that.
But for right now, the Eagles are 2-0.
English says the goal for his team’s date inside the Big House this Saturday (noon, BTN) is simple: To leave the place with a record of 3-0.
“To win, everybody wants to win,” English said when asked what a successful day would be this weekend. “But that’s a tall task for anybody who goes in that stadium.
“(Michigan coach Brady Hoke) has taught that team what all Michigan teams have been taught -- to never quit in that stadium. That’s what happened last week (against Notre Dame). They never quit.”