Ypsilanti – As his team prepares to take on Bowling Green Saturday, Eastern Michigan head football coach Jeff Genyk knows it will take a great performance just to stay competitive with the 5-2 Falcons. However, he wants his players to avoid "pressing" too much.
"We have to execute. We don't have to play perfect. But we have to execute on offense, defense and special teams to give us a chance to be in the game in the fourth quarter," Genyk said Tuesday. "It's going to take our best effort just to get us to the fourth quarter."
Much of the talk Tuesday centered around stopping BGSU quarterback Omar Jacobs. In his first year starting following the departure of all-Mid American Conference honoree Josh Harris, Jacobs has been dominant. He ranks in the top five nationally in total offense and completions per game, and leads the MAC with 20 touchdown passes and 314 yards per game.
"With Omar, you've got to provide a variety of things," Genyk said. "You have to try to make him think a little bit. Their passes are like long handoffs. They are a bunch of five-yard passes and they advance them for three or four more yards and all of the sudden it's (eight yards)."
Genyk noted that Jacobs has exceeded some of Harris' statistics, despite playing just three quarters in several of BGSU's blowout victories. The Eagles will use faster defensive personnel to try to contain the Falcons' attack.
Genyk made sure to mention BGSU's defense and special teams as well. The Falcons have allowed 77 points in four conference games, fewest in the MAC West. And kicker Shaun Suisham booted a career-long 52-yard field goal last week against Ohio.
"They have a very sound program," Genyk said. "Their defense is what I've been most impressed with. They're very sound in all three aspects. They have a program going in the right direction."
Click on the audio icon above to hear Coach Genyk's comments. And tune in to 89.1 at 5:45 Saturday afternoon for all the action between the Eagles and the Falcons.
Connections: Saturday will mark Genyk's first trip to a football game at Doyt Perry Stadium since he wrapped up his career as BGSU's quarterback in 1981.
"I've been back a few times, but never for a homecoming or a football game because I've been in athletics and you're busy on those days," he said. "It's going to be a neat day."
Genyk and BGSU head coach Gregg Brandon coached together under Gary Barnett at Northwestern from 1993 to 1998.
Fresh Faces: In addition to using the bye week to get players healthy and improve on fundamentals, Genyk also organized a freshman-only scrimmage last Thursday. The 11-on-11 action featured full pads and tackling, and offered coaches a rare chance to see backup players playing at full speed.
"More than anything, we want to coach those kids," Genyk said. "Because they are redshirting, there are 30 players on our team that don't get much coaching. We spend a lot of time with them on Thursdays and give them an opportunity to get fundamentally sound and also have some fun and scrimmage."
Genyk singled out linebackers Mackenzie Lyons and Jason Headen for outstanding performances, and raved about Belleville native Tyler Jones' future as a quarterback.
"Tyler Jones looks like he can be a special player."