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Playin' Nice: Hustle Belt

Talking Eastern Michigan Eagles with Alexander Alverado of the SB Nation MAC site, Hustle Belt.

1. Eastern Michigan was dreadful on offense last season but comes in this week averaging more than 30 points a game. What's changed?

Well for starts, this is Chris Creighton's second year as our head coach. I think some of the success has to do with these players not having to learn a new playbook like they've done every year since 2011, which is good for the young veterans on the team. Everybody's role was trying to be discovered last year and now it seems like there's less uncertainty with how players will be used in the system.

2. What style of offense does EMU run and what players should LSU fans familiarize themselves with?

It's a multiple-set system with an up-tempo pace. 4-wide spread, 5-wide spread, single back, pistol, they like to mix things up. I'd have to rewatch the games to be more confident in this, but I feel like we tend to see more 4 and 5-wide spread formations and less of singleback or pistol with Brogan Roback at quarterback. Our season-opening QB Reggie Bell is out with a jaw injury.

I think Darius Jackson is the most undervalued running back in the MAC. On 59 carries, he's averaging just under 102 yards per game, eight total TD. He's got some speed, but you'll notice his toughness first.

3. Defensively, the results are...not as good. What's the issue there?

Unfortunately we lost an NFL prospect on the defensive line as Pat O'Connor has to miss the season as well as a senior linebacker Hunter Matt for the year too (I've never been given an answer as to why he's not playing).

Our rushing defense has been an issue for... a while. I get that our offense with an up-tempo offense that can limit itself to a 3-and-out can give the other team the ball longer, but this defense is very prone to giving up long drives. There was one drive two Saturdays ago where Ball State had a drive last nearly 10 minutes.

4. Same question: defensive scheme and names we should know?

It's a 3-4 system. I think Luke Maclean on the defensive line should be looked at. He played as a redshirt freshman for Pitt before transferring over, fitting in nicely. Great Ibe had an unreal year last year as one of the inside linebackers, it'll be interesting how he reacts to blocking schemes to stop the run.

5. This is a program that's won 5 games out of its last 40. This a pure paycheck/bodybag game or is there any real enthusiasm in the program?

It's easy for me to say it's a paycheck game because I'm not the one that has to play on Saturday. A lot of players on the team and getting playing time now are really young. 16 of last week's starters on offense and defense will be back on the roster next year. I'm not seeking for moral victories, but if the team can at least go home being proud of the way they play and not live down to the meme that everybody gives this program, then that's definitely a step in the right direction.