You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 1:57 p.m.

Spring provides fresh beginning for Eastern Michigan football team

By Jeff Arnold


Second-year Eastern Michigan coach Ron English expects familiarity of his philosophy is paying off this spring as the Eagles try and move past last year's 0-12 finish. ( file photo)

The program’s new $3.9 million indoor practice facility and the fresh faces on his coaching staff are the obvious changes for Eastern Michigan football coach Ron English.

After the Eagles’ 0-12 finish last year - English’s first season at Eastern - he expects a change in philosophy, too.

"We're just about getting better every day," English said Tuesday. "We know we have a long way to go in every respect. I knew what the situation was coming in here and if you waste time thinking about that, it does nothing for you in the future.

"So we're just trying to think about every rep and every period and every play."

Eastern Michigan wraps up spring practice Sunday when English will use the annual spring game at Rynearson Stadium as more of a workout than a full display of what his team may look like in the fall.

At times, English was forced to a slower practice tempo due to a lack of numbers on his roster, which will be enhanced once all of the freshmen report for summer workouts. The majority of starting jobs remain wide open - starting at quarterback - where sophomores Alex Gillett and redshirt freshman Devontae Payne have split snaps this spring.

Despite some experience at tailback with senior Dwayne Priest and junior Corey Welch and in the receiving corps with Tyrone Burke and Ben Thayer, English has found himself with plenty of teaching moments this spring.

"We just were not physical at all and we didn't play hard," English said of last season.

This spring, English and his staff - which includes seven new coaches, including defensive coordinator Phil Snow - have put a greater emphasis on effort. There's a new dedication to finishing plays and on toughness, establishing a brand of football English expects will make the Eagles competitive.

Seven of Eastern's 12 losses were by 21 points or more, overshadowing the near-misses - including in a 3-point loss to Northwestern - that made up the Eagles' season. It was the lopsided losses that hurt the most, demonstrating not so much the inability to execute as much of a team that English said didn't have the will to stay close.

"I want people to see a team people can respect," English said. "When you don't play hard and you're not physical and you don't know what to do, nobody respects that."

Jeff Arnold covers sports for and can be reached at (734) 623-2554 or by e-mail at



Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 5:21 p.m.

Likearock, Let's be honest here......this is probably an adequate amount of coverage for EMU football. Once they drum up enough support to fill a 30,000 seat stadium, they might start getting more media coverage.


Wed, Apr 14, 2010 : 3:24 p.m. has not given EMU coverage all spring and this is the best you can do? Really??? What a joke. Just go back to giving UM their 5 reports a day and stop pretending to cover EMU. You either cover them or you don't This is garbage.