March 31, 2008
The Eastern Washington University football team ended the 2007 season in the mud at Woodward Field. It appears that the 2008 spring practice session for the Eagles is going to start the same way.
A weekend snowfall of about three inches has blanketed EWU's practice fields, forcing first-year EWU head coach Beau Baldwin to postpone the start of practices three days. Instead of starting Tuesday (April 1), the Eagles will begin on Friday (April 4).
"I'm just crossing my fingers that it gets warm enough and the snow melts," said Baldwin of the recent weather, which has included night-time lows in the 20's and highs only in the upper 30's and low 40's. "We always get a little bit of bad weather and some occasional sleet in the spring, but not snow like this. We can't paint the fields."
Weather forecasts call for improving and warmer weather as the week goes on, but a heavy winter snowfall and high water tables will no doubt make early practices a muddy mess. The conditions will probably be similar to last year's 38-16 rain-soaked victory over Weber State on Nov. 17 that gave EWU an 8-3 record and helped propel the Eagles into the NCAA Championship Subdivision Playoffs.
Baldwin said this week's practices scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday are being moved to Monday, April 21 and Wednesday, April 23. He also said that the scrimmage originally scheduled for this Saturday will not take place, and that the scrimmage scheduled for Woodward Field on Saturday, April 12 at 10:30 a.m., may take place on the practice fields instead to help preserve the grass at Woodward.
Spring practices culminate with the annual Red-White Game on Saturday, April 26 at 2 p.m. at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash. The final scrimmage is part of the annual Orland Killin Weekend, which includes the Coaches Golf Tournament on April 25 and the annual Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction following the Red-White Game on April 26. More information on Killin Weekend is available at: http://WWW.GOEAGS.COM.
Eastern will also scrimmage at Woodward Field on April 19 at approximately 10:30 a.m. A revised spring practice and scrimmage schedule is listed below. All practices begin at 3:20 p.m. on the EWU Sports and Recreation Center practice fields.
Once they get practices started, Baldwin will welcome back 47 letter winners from last year's 9-4 season that included a quarterfinal appearance in the FCS Playoffs. Although this is his first year at the helm, Baldwin is no stranger to EWU's program, and particularly the offense, which welcomes back six starters from one of the top-producing offensive units in the country.
Baldwin spent four years as Eastern offensive coordinator before departing for CWU, and his past tutelage of quarterback Matt Nichols -- the 2007 Big Sky Conference Offensive MVP -- is a major reason why he returned. Baldwin takes the reins from former Eagle head coach Paul Wulff, who left to become head coach at Washington State University.
2008 Spring Practice Schedule:
(begin at 3:20 p.m.; Media Interviews at 3 p.m.)
Friday, April 4
Tuesday, April 8
Wednesday, April 9
Friday, April 11
Tuesday, April 15
Wednesday, April 16
Thursday, April 17
Monday, April 21
Tuesday, April 22
Wednesday, April 23
Thursday, April 24
(times/location tentative and subject to change)
Saturday, April 12 - 10:30 a.m. (Site TBA)
Saturday, April 19 - 10:30 a.m. (Woodward Field)
Saturday, April 26 - Red-White Game - 2 p.m. (Woodward Field)