Football Opens Fall Camp Ahead of 2023 Campaign

YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) — Inside Eastern Michigan University's Student-Athlete Performance Center, three trophies highlight the success the Eagles' football team attained in 2022: victors of the 2022 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, co-champions of the Mid-American Conference West Division, and winners of the Michigan MAC Trophy.
As the sun rose above "The Factory" at Rynearson Stadium Wednesday, Aug. 2, it simultaneously set on 2022 and ushered in 2023 as the Eagles held their first practice of the season. Less than one month from its home and season-opening contest with Howard University, Sept. 1, Eastern players punched the clock and got back to work in its first session, dubbed as an "Opportunity", looking to add more gold to the trophy case.
"To be out here, officially starting, is a great feeling," Head Coach Chris Creighton said. "We had a lot of fun, good energy, and plenty to work on. We have vets and we have guys that are doing this for the first time, and that is always the case. I think our leaders, our upperclassmen, do a good job of setting the tone and bringing our guys along so we can get ship-shape pretty quickly."
Senior linebacker Joe Sparacio (Naples, Fla./First Baptist Academy/Boston College) echoed Creighton's thoughts about being back on the field.
"It's so exciting," Sparacio said. "The energy was great and everybody was fired up to get back here. We are going to chase big things this year and it starts today."
The day opened with stretching before the Eagles began flying around the field in small groups, taking part in the "Turnover Circuit" with each activity designed to work on ball security and takeaways. Throughout practice, which saw the players in helmets with no shoulder pads, the energy was high with each position coach working on fundamentals as the team took the field for the first time.
"Even when we put the pads on (later), we are going to be staying off the ground," Creighton said. "We need to do a really good job of staying healthy and keeping guys injury free, but, you have to practice football, too; the defense has to tackle and the offense has to block. We need to manufacture ways to do that and do some of that live, and we will take some opportunities to do that live as we go. Before we get there, it's alignment, it's assignment, communication, and first-steps, and we can learn a lot from that."
Learning never ends and that is certainly the case on the defensive side of the ball. This time last year, the Eagles' defense headed into fall camp with Neal Neatherly at the helm. Following his retirement at the end of the 2022 season, Ben Needham has taken the reigns to guide the unit.
"Coach Needham and the rest of the defensive staff do a really good job," Sparacio said. "I really wouldn't say there is much of a transition (from last year). We did a lot in the spring and, this summer, we have been working really hard, whether it's in the class room, on our own, or OTAs, we picked up where we left off. Now that we have worked on it all spring and summer, it's pretty seamless going into camp and we can continue to build off that to get better."
Season and Single-Game Tickets On Sale
Season tickets are on sale in anticipation of the fall. Eastern Michigan continues to offer the Ultimate Fan Season Ticket Plan for just $150. This package includes a wide chairback with armrests on the 50-yard line along with VIP season parking. Chairback Season Tickets are $120 and include a chairback in Reserved Sections 104-109. Reserved season tickets are just $108 (Reserved Sections 104-109), while General Admission season tickets are $84 (Sections 110-114 and the visiting side).
Tickets are on sale at EMUEagles.com/tickets, by calling 734.487.3669 or by visiting the EMU Ticket Office.
2023 Fall Camp Schedule *
OPPORTUNITY 1: Wednesday, Aug. 2
OPPORTUNITY 2: Thursday, Aug. 3
OPPORTUNITY 3: Friday, Aug. 4
OPPORTUNITY 4: Sunday, Aug. 6
OPPORTUNITY 5: Monday, Aug. 7
OPPORTUNITY 6: Tuesday, Aug. 8 (first day in full pads)
OPPORTUNITY 7: Thursday, Aug. 10
OPPORTUNITY 8: Friday, Aug. 11
OPPORTUNITY 9: Saturday, Aug. 12
OPPORTUNITY 10: Monday, Aug. 14
OPPORTUNITY 11: Tuesday, Aug. 15
OPPORTUNITY 12: Wednesday, Aug. 16
OPPORTUNITY 13: Friday, Aug. 18
OPPORTUNITY 14: Saturday, Aug. 19
OPPORTUNITY 15: Monday, Aug. 21
OPPORTUNITY 16: Tuesday, Aug. 22
OPPORTUNITY 17: Wednesday, Aug. 23
OPPORTUNITY 18: Thursday, Aug. 24
OPPORTUNITY 19: Friday, Aug. 25
OPPORTUNITY 20: Saturday, Aug. 26
* Practices are CLOSED to the public. Any media wishing to attend must seek credentialed access through the EMU Athletic Media Relations office at least 24 hours in advance.

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