Returning Starters – Offense: 5 Defense: 8
Preview: Eastern Michigan brought in a new head coach last season, but it was familiar results for the Eagles as they went 2-10 overall with only 1 win coming against an FBS opponent. Head coach Chris Creighton has his work cut out for him as he tries to change the culture of arguably the worst program in D-1 football. The Eagles are just looking to make baby step this season and that would be perhaps getting around 3-5 wins in 2015.
The Eagles at least have some hope on the offensive side of the ball with QB Reginald Ball turning into an interesting piece of the offense once he took over the job midway through last season. Ball has legit track speed mixed with the ability to create through the air as well. Eastern Michigan had underwhelming results from their receivers last season, but an influx of freshman talent could help the situation. The Eagles are rebuilding along the O-line with three starters needing to be replaced. The ground game has the potential to be better with Ball getting more comfortable in the starting role given his dual threat capabilities.
The Eagles had one of the worst defenses in college football last season as they couldn’t stop anyone mixed with the fact that they were unable to force turnovers. The defense had to learn yet another new system last season, but there should be more continuity this year with 8 starters returning to play in the same system. The D-line is fairly weak except for lineman O’Connor who’s arguably the best player on the team. LB is a position that returns experience with guys like Ibe, Zappone, Matt, and Spearman in the mix. The secondary is still a concern and this unit is led by Beck and Pace as returning starters.
Prediction: Making bowl eligibility would be a surprise for Eastern Michigan, especially playing in the sneaky tough MAC West division. The Eagles are moving in the right direction under head coach Chris Creighton and an improvement in wins should be expected for this group. If QB Ball can stay healthy he should be worth at least 3 wins by himself given his big-play capabilities.
Projected Record: 4-8 (2-6)