Team preview: Eastern Michigan

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(All information as of June 20, 2007)


Perhaps seven is the charm when it comes to producing a winner in Ypsilanti.

If you scroll through the history of Eastern Michigan football, the program has put together some of its finest records in seasons that end with a seven.

In 1987, the team went 10-2 and made its last postseason appearance, in the California Bowl, where it beat San Jose State, 30-27
Jump back to 1977 and the team went 8-3. In 1967, it was 6-3.

OK, 1997 was an off year with a 4-7 record, but otherwise the program has gone 7-4 in seasons ending with a seven since its inception in 1891.
Can the trend continue this year?

The Eagles really have nowhere to go but up after bottoming out with a 1-11 campaign that extended their consecutive losing seasons streak to 11.

Even though the program took a step back in wins, snapping two straight four-win seasons, fourth-year head coach Jeff Genyk sees progress being made.
"Absolutely," he said. "We've made so many improvements in the program, I feel great where we are going."

One area the Eagles must improve on this season if they hope to go somewhere is finishing games. A trend for the 2006 team was to play hard for a half or three quarters only to run out of gas down the stretch.
"We couldn't finish them off," Genyk said.

The Eagles squandered fourth-quarter leads to Central Michigan, Bowling Green and Western Michigan and a second-half lead to Ohio.

EMU did manage to win one in the fourth quarter, using Pierre Walker's touchdown run with 36 seconds left to stun Toledo, 17-13, and that is the trend the Eagles hope to follow this season.
With only seven seniors on the roster last year,
EMU was forced to use plenty of young players, and that should benefit the team this season with 15 starters back.