Q and A: Football player Matt Nichols
Records are great, but winning is more important for senior EWU quarterback
By Keenan Bowen, EWU Sports Information
Eastern Washington University starting quarterback Matt Nichols played in his 41st game as an Eagle and surpassed former EWU quarterback Erik Meyer in the record books for career passing yards last Saturday (Oct. 10). While breaking the record was nice for Nichols, he and the rest of his teammates weren't satisfied with their 31-13 loss against Weber State.
This Saturday, Nichols has a chance to break another Eagle record and get a huge victory over the Montana Grizzlies (5-0 overall, 2-0 BSC) in Missoula, Mont. Nichols is just 29 yards short of the career total offense record, also held by Meyer. It won't be an easy task, though, as the Grizzlies are once again at the top of the Big Sky Conference. Eastern (4-2 overall, 3-1 BSC) could make the Big Sky race interesting with a win on Saturday, and it would be their first against Montana since 2005.
Nichols came to Eastern in 2005 after graduating from West Valley High School in Cottonwood, Calif. After redshirting the 2005 season, he has started the last four years. Nichols passed for 354 yards in last week's loss, and now has 10,315 in his career while Meyer had 10,261 from 2002-05.
Meyer won the 2005 Walter Payton Award given to the top player in the NCAA Football Championships Subdivision. For the second-straight year, Nichols is on the "Watch List" for that coveted award presented by the Sports Network.
More on Nichols and this week's game at Montana may be found
Q: What was it like to finally break the career passing record against Weber State?
A: "The career passing record at Eastern has always been a very important goal of mine, but to be honest, I still haven't really thought too much about it because of the tough loss against Weber State. It meant a lot to me to do it at home, and it means a lot to have support from Erik Meyer. He called me last week wondering if I broke his records yet. I'm sure it will be something that I will appreciate more later in life, but for now my main goal is to win on Saturday against Montana and win a Big Sky Championship."
Q: What kinds of things did you learn under the wing of Erik Meyer?
A: "I wish I could have had a little more time to learn from Erik, but from just one season of being around him, I really learned how the quarterback position is supposed to be played. As quarterback you have to be calm and collected no matter what the situation is, and seeing how he responded to bad situations helped me through my rough freshman year. Also, when I first got here I was having trouble learning the offense and he would have me over to his house and talk about it. I just picked up a lot of his habits from watching him play the game."
Q: Do you look forward to playing in the environment that comes with playing at Montana?
A: "I absolutely love playing at Montana. There is nothing better than having 25,000 people rooting against you, and playing against one of the best teams in the country. This weekend is what college football is all about, and I can already feel the excitement in the locker room as well as at practice. Even though we lost last time we were there, it was probably the most fun I have ever had during the middle of a football game."
Q: Despite the loss, you and Aaron Boyce had breakout games at Montana in 2007. What contributed to that, and what needs to happen to have the same result this Saturday?
A: "It was just one of those days where I couldn't miss a throw, and Boyce and I were exactly on the same page the entire game. Actually, I watched that game again and I made a couple pretty dangerous throws that went our way, so I just need to be weary of turnovers in this game. If we go out and do the things we have done for the last four years we should do just fine."
Q: During your redshirt year in 2005, you observed an EWU victory at Montana. How was that experience?
A: "I would say that being able to travel as a redshirt was very good for me because I got to see a lot of the places I would be playing at. Going to Montana was probably the most important because it is unlike any stadium in the Big Sky. Also, seeing them lose there does not happen very often, so it's nice to know that it is possible."
Q: Madden 2010 has been out for awhile now, so what is the overall record between you and Aaron Boyce?
A: "We haven't played too much Madden, but he has yet to beat me at it. We play a lot of Tiger Woods 2010 and I usually beat him easily. He has to use Tiger Vision to even compete with me and (backup quarterback) Jeff Minnerly. We play a lot of video games in our spare time."
Q: Breaking passing records aside, do you have any other personal goals for the remainder of the season?
A: "In my career here we have had problems beating Montana and Portland State, so a main goal is to beat those two teams this year. Since I got here four years ago all we wanted was to bring a Big Sky Championship to Eastern, and this is my last chance to do that. This is going to be a fun last five regular season games of my college career. I also want to say thank you to all of the fans that show up to our games every Saturday. You are the ones that make college football so great."