Plenty of Big Plays and Autographs to Go Around in First Eagle Scrimmage
Offensive units rush for 208 yards and pass for another 201 as eight different players score touchdowns in 75-play scrimmage
There were plenty of Eagles to share to load at Eastern Washington University's football scrimmage Saturday (Aug. 9) at Roos Field, as well as lots of autographs for fans.
A large crowd showed up at the unveiling of Eastern's 2014 schedule poster, and they were rewarded with 409 yards of offense by the Eagles and touchdowns scored by eight different players in the 75-play scrimmage to wrap-up the first full week of preseason practices.
Ranked this past week as the No. 1 team in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision, many starters sat the scrimmage out, but that didn't limit the number of big plays or the enthusiasm of head coach Beau Baldwin. His team will resume practices Monday in preparation for their opener on ESPN against Sam Houston State on Aug. 23, and will also scrimmage next Saturday (Aug. 16) at approximately 9:50 a.m. at Roos Field.
"There were plays being made by both the offense and defense," he said. "The tempo offense we used is going to help us on both sides of the ball, and we need to carry that over into this week's practices."
"I thank Eagle fans and everybody involved with setting up a game-day atmosphere at a scrimmage," he said of the crowd and the post-scrimmage autograph session involving his entire team. "Our players appreciate it -- it gives you a boost and a jolt. As a coach and a player, it makes you want to put a great product on the field for them to see."
Four running backs combined for 177 of the 208 yards the Eagles rushed for, led by the 69 of sophomore Jabari Wilson. That quartet averaged 6.8 yards per carry, with all of them having at least one run of 15 yards or more.
"We have four or five players we can rely on, and that's a great problem to have," said Baldwin. "That's tough sometimes for those players in that running back group – they all want to be the starter and they all have the ability to potentially get a lot of carries. But it keeps the competition alive and keeps us fresh at that position no matter where we are in the season. We feel very confident with all those players that they will get the job done."
Walter Payton Award candidate and All-America quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. passed for 103 yards and three touchdowns in the mostly-situational scrimmage. Five Eastern quarterbacks combined to complete 21-of-33 passes for 201 yards.
Sophomore Kendrick Bourne led all receivers with five catches for 59 yards and a TD from Adams, who also had scoring tosses to Nic Sblendorio and Terence Grady. Jordan West had a TD pass to Terry Jackson II, and former Camas (Wash.) High School teammates Reilly Hennessey and Zach Eagle hooked-up for a 27-yard score late in the scrimmage.
Defensively, true freshman Alek Kacmarcik picked up an errant pitch and returned it 55 yards for a score, and true freshman Marcus Saugen from Spokane's North Central High School paced all tacklers with seven. Cornerback Rashad Wadood, a transfer from Arizona State, had a pair of passes broken up and a tackle.
Mario Brown 4 run (Roldan Alcobendas kick)
Conner Baumann 4 run (Alcobendas kick)
Kendrick Bourne 10 pass from Vernon Adams Jr. (Alcobendas kick)
Nic Sblendorio 2 pass from Adams (Jason Schwartz kick)
Terence Grady 8 pass from Adams (Tyler McNanney kick)
Terry Jackson II 10 pass from Jordan West (McNanney kick)
Alek Kacmarcik 55 fumble return
Zach Eagle 27 pass from Reilly Hennessey (McNanney kick)
Rushing: Jabari Wilson 8-69, Quincy Forte 3-41, Jalen Moore 8-37, Mario Brown 7-30, Ashanti Kindle 3-16, Conner Baumann 3-15, Vernon Adams Jr. 4-5, Cody Hecker 2-minus-2, Conner Richardson 4-minus-3, Totals 42-208.
Passing: Vernon Adams Jr. 12-of-19 103, Jordan West 5-of-6 48, Reilly Hennessey 2-of-3 35, Conner Richardson 2-of-3 15, Gage Gubrud 0-of-2, Totals 21-of-33 201.
Receiving: Kendrick Bourne 5-59, Nic Sblendorio 4-23, Stu Stiles 3-26, Terry Jackson II 2-20, Terence Grady 2-14, Zach Eagle 1-27, Jalen Moore 1-9, Henderson Belk 1-8, Jalani Phelps 1-8, Zach Wimberly 1-7, Totals 21-201.
Forced Fumbles: Miles Weatheroy.
Fumble Recovery: Alek Kacmarcik.
Sacks: Andre Lino.
Passes Broken Up: Rashad Wadood 2, Eric Orth 1.
Tackles Leaders: Marcus Saugen 7, Jake Gall 6, Jordan Tonani 5, Tevin McDonald 5, Alek Kacmarcik 5, Kurt Calhoun 5, Jordan Talley 5, Isaiah Jenkins 3, Frank Cange 3, Jake Hoffman 3, Miles Weatheroy 3, Zach Bruce 3, Nzuzi Webster 3, Mitch Fettig 3, Nick Foerstel 3, Miquiyah Zamora 3, Mac McLachlan 3.
MORE COMMENTS FROM HEAD COACH BEAU BALDWIN
On Emphasis in the Scrimmage on Third Down and in the Red Zone: "A lot of offenses do great things between the 20's on first and second down. The championship offenses and teams understand how to operate in the red zone and are usually among the national leaders in third down conversions. It's so important for us to execute on third down and even on fourth down, as well as in the red zone. Those are situations we sometimes over-do, but that's okay."
On Tempo Offense Even Without Starting Receivers: "There is work to do. But from where we are with a veteran quarterback, we are in a good position. And we didn't have our veteran receivers playing either. I like the ability to go extremely fast, but I like the ability to change speeds on people too. That's where we are at as an offense right now."
On Kendrick Bourne: "Kendrick will make some incredible plays, and as a receiver he gives you a little of everything. He just needs to get over the hump and be more consistent – he needs to make the fifth play after he's made four. That's just getting in game shape. But the strides he has made from spring to now have been really strong."
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.)
Sunday, Aug. 10 – Off
Monday, Aug. 11 – 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 12 – 9 am.
Wednesday, Aug. 13 - 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 14 – 9 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 15 – 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 16 – Scrimmage, approx. 9:50 a.m., Roos Field
Sunday, Aug. 17 – Off
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