Red Turf beckons as Eastern continues preparations for Aug. 31 opener at Oregon State
The red turf of Roos Field will see its first action of the season Saturday (Aug. 17), as the Eastern Washington University football team will have its first scrimmage of preseason camp at approximately 9:45 a.m. in Cheney, Wash. The scrimmage is free and open to the public.
Eastern started practices on Aug. 7, and this is the first of two scrimmages at Roos Field in which head coach Beau Baldwin and his staff will get a game-like look at their team. The Eagles will also scrimmage on Aug. 24 at about 9:45 a.m. before opening the season Aug. 31 at Oregon State.
"This is a group that is doing things right and I'm most excited about that," said Baldwin of his squad, which includes 48 returning letterwinners from last season. "I'm excited about the attitude and approach this group takes day-in and day-out."
Sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. returns to lead the Eagle offense, which features a veteran offensive line and running back corp, but three new starting receivers. Baldwin is looking forward to seeing the advances Adams has made since last season when he started nine games as a redshirt freshman and accounted for 2,303 yards of total offense and 21 touchdowns.
"He is the first to tell you he wants to think in terms of competing and earning it," Baldwin said of Adams returning as a starter. "He has it posted in his locker, 'keep earning everything.'
"We want him to keep competing like a rookie, but at quarterback we also want him to have the confidence and swagger to run the offense and be in charge," Baldwin added. "He needs to have the attitude, 'this is going to be my team,' so it's a combination of both."
Eastern will also take a close look at several linebackers trying to earn playing time at that position, as well as on special teams. Led by All-America linebacker Ronnie Hamlin, the defense is also looking for depth in the secondary and a couple of new starters along an experienced defensive line.