Football team appears flat in loss

Maher Kawash, Football Reporter

DeKalb—­The Panthers have just looked flat as one of their only good drives in two games was the one at the end of the Indiana State matchup that led to victory.

That game-winning drive that saw the smooth connection between redshirt senior Mitch Kimble and senior receiver Dennis Turner was pretty much all this team has to show for the start of this season.

Eastern coach Kim Dameron said there is not one specific phase of the team that needs to be worked on more, instead, every part of the team needs to improve.

There is good reason to say that as the numbers spoke for themselves this past weekend.

“Northern Illinois is a good football team that is well coached, but them playing well was accentuated by the fact that we did,” Dameron said.

Kimble’s two interceptions and one fumble are a solid example of the flat style of play seen from Eastern as he continues to force things.

On 29 pass attempts it was clear that Kimble’s rhythm was off and his connection with receivers was just not there.

Maybe it is a credit to one of his favorite targets being out in redshirt senior tight end Addison Bounds, but nonetheless it is clear we have not seen the usual Kimble we knew from a year ago.

His struggles and the Huskies’ ability to dismantle Eastern’s defense opened the way for redshirt freshman Scotty Gilkey to get the first game action of his career.

Gilkey gave the team a breath of fresh air as he handled a sneak up the middle to complete a 1-yard score notching his first career touchdown and the lone touchdown of the game for EIU.

Despite his ability to find the end zone there is nearly no chance whatsoever for Gilkey to surpass Kimble on the depth chart this early into the season.

And all is not lost either as it is still just two games in as well as the fact that Northern really is a quality FBS opponent.

What can be drawn from these first two weeks is that the team knows it has to be better, but also knows what potential is there.

The defense struggled to contain Northern all day long but did have some key turnovers that just were not capitalized on.

Blocked field goals offered better field position as well but the struggle to move the ball anywhere made the obvious difference.

The Panthers are still 1-1 though with room to improve, and heading into one of the most important games of the season Dameron knows what has to be done.

“Nothing changes, we’re still a family and they’re my guys,” Dameron said. “I love them and we’re going to go back this week and make adjustments because we’ve got a big game coming this week against Illinois State.”

The game with Illinois State will be a big test for the Panthers and can define them of what the can be for the rest of the season. It is the Panthers;’ home opener.

Maher Kawash can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]