EMU Football Camp Outlook: Offense
Camp season is here! Who needs to step up for Eastern Michigan's offense in the month leading up to the start of the 2023 season?
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Good morning, and happy Start of EMU Camp day to those who recognize.
Eastern Michigan’s football squad welcomed everybody back to campus this week and today, Wednesday, is the first day of camp for the team. The schedule includes 20 practice sessions that run from today through Saturday, Aug. 26. Next Tuesday will be the team’s first day wearing full pads. It’s just hats and cleats until then.
These practices are closed to the public.
As the team makes its intense, month-long preparation for the start of the new season, let’s run through each position of EMU’s offense heading into 2023 to preview the start of camp. A separate post to preview the defense and special teams is forthcoming.
Returning starter: Austin Smith
Listed on two-deep: Cam’Ron McCoy (QB2), Ike Udengwu (QB2)
Also returns: Jeremiah Salem (walk-on)
Incoming transfer: Ike Udengwu (Mt. San Antonio CC)
Incoming freshmen: none
Assuming last year’s health issues aren’t a repeat issue in 2023, it’s time for Austin Smith to completely elevate his game. Smith joined the team in January 2021 as an early enrollee out of high school and was thrust into serious playing time last year, maybe a little sooner than team expected to. While Smith’s shown to have decent ability as a dual-threat quarterback, is was obvious that his ceiling was far from met in his freshman season. While I still don’t expect him to play his best football while he’s still so young, but this EMU team is primed to make a push toward the MAC championship immediately. That probably can’t happen if the QB play this year is only so-so and doesn’t improve.
DEEP PASSING IS KEY
Who’s got the strongest arm?
And who’s the best deep passer?
I’ve got a feeling that attacking the deep-third of the field is going to be a priority for this team’s offense moving forward. If EMU’s going to win the West, the cleanest way of doing so is going to involve deep passing efficiency. According to Pro Football Focus, Smith connected on just 3 of his 13 attempted passes 20+ yards downfield in 2022. Smith can’t have a repeat of last year, and whatever improvements have been made between then and now will have to stand out over these next 20 days of camp.
Returning starters: Samson Evans, Jaylon Jackson
Also returns: Elijah Jackson-Anderson, Bryson Moss
Incoming transfer: Dontae McMillan (Weber State)
Incoming freshmen: Deion Brown, Joey Mattord (walk-on)
This might be the most confident I've felt in Eastern Michigan's running back room in a pretty long time. Samson Evans returns as the school’s leader in rushing touchdowns scored (29) and if he has another rushing year like last (1,166 yards), then he’ll be the fourth RB in EMU history to have back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons. That’s a feat that hasn’t been met since Gary Patton did so in 1986 (1,058) and ‘87 (1,242).