Final Scrimmage Features Youth, Big Plays and 472 Yards of Offense
Offense scores seven times and defense once in final preparation for opener Aug. 23 versus Sam Houston State
Bring on the Bearkats.
Led by backup quarterback Jordan West, offensive squads rolled up seven scores and 472 yards of offense as Eastern Washington University wrapped up preseason football practices with a 58-play scrimmage Saturday (Aug. 16) at Roos Field. Ranked as the No. 1 team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, most starters sat out the scrimmage and younger players received the majority of snaps.
"I was generally pleased with the big plays – there were some on both sides," said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin after watching the offense score five touchdowns and kick a pair of field goals, and the defense score on an interception return. "We made some good plays in finishing in the red zone, and we came back from negative plays to pick up first downs and continue drives.
"There were some sloppy things too," he added. "When you break up units and play a lot of players, that's going to happen sometimes. But I don't want to see that repeated over and over. We need to correct some of those things and move forward."
Tweet of the Day . . .
What's Next for Eagles . . .
The Eagles will take Sunday off before resuming practices Monday in preparation for their opener on ESPN against Sam Houston State on Aug. 23.
Key Statistics . . .
The offense averaged 8.1 yards per play, including 123 on the ground and 349 through the year. Four quarterbacks – none of them returning starter and All-American Vernon Adams Jr. – completed an impressive 21-of-27 passes for an average of 16.6 yards per completion.
Offensive Standouts . . .
West, a sophomore quarterback playing as the backup behind Adams, completed 8-of-10 passes for 175 yards and a 67-yard touchdown pass to junior Shaq Hill on the second play of the scrimmage. He also directed scoring drives of 65 (eight plays) and 49 yards (six plays).
Hill caught three passes for 88 yards, with true freshmen Terence Grady leading all receivers with five grabs for 107 yards and a 22-yard TD pass from freshman Gage Gubrud to end the scrimmage. Gubrud was 5-of-7 for 57 yards, and true freshman Reilly Hennessey completed all six of his passes for 78 yards and rushed for a TD.
Defensive Standouts . . .
Defensively, four players had five tackles each, including redshirt freshman Moe Roberts and true freshmen Nzuzi Webster, Kurt Calhoun and Marcus Saugen. Redshirt freshman Jake Gall added four tackles and a 45-yard interception return for a touchdown, and true freshman Jonah Jordan added a forced fumble that was recovered by true freshman Patiole Pesefea.
Baldwin said after the scrimmage that, at this point, five true freshmen probably won't redshirt this season. They include Grady and tight end Conner Baumann on offense, and Webster, Saugen and Pesefea on defense.
Six Eastern players and athletic director Bill Chaves took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge after the scrimmage, and in turn, challenged others. Include were former Eastern player and current Tennessee Titan Michael Roos (@MichaelRoos). Adams challenged Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson (@DangeRussWilson).
More Beau Baldwin Quotes . . .
On Personnel at Scrimmage: "We still wanted to see some of our players in the top two spots on our depth chart. Some, like Shaq, have been injured in camp and haven't seen as many reps. Others just haven't played a lot of college football. From the younger players, we want to figure out who might travel and those who can help us on special teams. We can project players (for special teams) just by seeing them move and what they are doing on offense and defense. Those are some of the things we wanted to evaluate with this scrimmage."
On Performances of Young Talent: "Terence was making plays, and Nzuzi had a lot of tackles on defense. And we still consider Jordan West is young player, and he was a big part of this scrimmage too. It was important that he received reps in this scrimmage and get into different situations. This was good for him and he made big plays too."
Shaq Hill 67 pass from Jordan West (Roldan Alcobendas kick)
Jake Gall 45 interception return
Jalen Moore 1 run (Alcobendas kick)
FG Alcobendas 37
FG Alcobendas 33
Riley Hennessey 6 run (Alcobendas kick)
Cody Hecker 9 run (Tyler McNannay)
Terence Grady 22 pass from Gage Gubrud
Passing: Jordan West 8-of-10 175, Reilly Hennessey 6-of-6 78, Gage Gubrud 5-of-7 56, Conner Richardson 2-of-4 40, Totals 21-of-27 349.
Receiving: Terence Grady 5-107, Zach Eagle 4-62, Shaq Hill 3-88, Jalani Phelps 2-24, Cody Hecker 2-19, Henderson Belk 1-31, Nic Sblendorio 1-8, Stu Stiles 1-7, Larren Wright Jr. 1-2, Ahsanti Kindle 1-1, Totals 21-349.
Interceptions: Jake Gall.
Forced Fumbles: Jonah Jordan.
Fumble Recovery: Patiole Pesefea.
Tackles Leaders: Marcus Saugen 5, Nzuzi Webster 5, Kurt Calhoun 5, Moe Roberts 5, Jake Gall 4, John Kreifels 4, Mac McLachlan 3, John Goldwire 3, Jonah Jordan 3, Kaleb Levao 3, Victor Gamboa 3, Zach Bruce 3, Dylan Donohue 3, Nick Foerstel 3.
Tentative Schedule of EWU Practices
(Times are subject to change. Practices usually last for two hours. Media interviews take place after practice and scrimmages, or 20-30 minutes before the practice time listed; No player interviews two days or less before day of games; Call EWU SID office before practices to confirm time and location. Remaining practices take place at Roos Field.)
Monday, Aug. 18 – Noon (Beau Baldwin at Spokane Indians game)
Tuesday, Aug. 19 – Noon
Wednesday, Aug. 20 - Noon
Thursday, Aug. 21 – Noon
Friday, Aug. 22 – Walk-Through at Roos Field, 3 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 23 – EWU vs. Sam Houston State, 12:35 p.m. Pacific time