September 27, 2006

Tim Calhoun Is Taking Advantage of His Opportunities

Sept. 27, 2006

Eastern Washington University has been a university of opportunity for senior tight end Tim Calhoun.

 

A 2002 graduate of Zillah, Wash., High School, Calhoun is the nephew of former Washington State University and Seattle Seahawks running back Dan Doornink. But Calhoun has made a name for himself, starting in 2001 when he was named one of the top 80 high school recruits in the state of Washington.

 

His impact was immediately felt his freshman year on the Eastern squad. He caught at least one pass in all but one game, including his trial-by-fire start during EWU's season-opener against Arizona State. In the end, he made 31 catches for 378 yards and five touchdowns. He was named the Big Sky Conference Freshman of the Year and things were looking up. But then the injuries came. 

 

"Everyone is injured sometime in their career -- it comes with the game," said Calhoun, whose uncle Dan is, ironically, a doctor now.

 

After being named a pre-season All-American in 2003, Calhoun suffered an ankle injury that required three surgeries to fix. Then he suffered a wrist injury in 2004 and had to sit through the Eagles march to the second round of the NCAA Division I-AA Playoffs.

 

"Rehab is a slow process -- you always want to be back quicker than you actually get back," said Calhoun.

 

But the 6-foot-4, 250-pound tight end made a triumphant return in 2005, starting eight of twelve games. He had the best game of his career in last year's 45-17 win at Sacramento State when he had six catches and 123 reception yards.

 

"I had a good game last year, although this year their team is totally different as is our team," said Calhoun. "Everything is different from year to year."

 

That may ring true especially for Calhoun, who has some goals coming into the 2006 football season.

 

"Mostly I want to have a successful senior season," said Calhoun. "I have been focused on just this year."

 

The season started with a pair of games against I-A foes, including nationally-ranked West Virginia. Calhoun was impressed.

 

"We're playing some of the best athletes in the country -- it's great for our program," he said. "West Virginia was an amazing experience. The fans get there the morning before and they were there to enjoy every moment of the game."

 

After a 0-3 start, the Eagles got back on track against Montana State with a 19-10 victory. So with the rest of league play looming, EWU hopes to live up to those expectations of another great season in Cheney.

 

"We really want to make it three (Big Sky Championships) in a row. It's in our hands -- we want to finish," said Calhoun. "It's a chance to redeem ourselves because these are the games that matter the most. You never want to lose a league game, especially at home."

 

The key to that success will be the development of quarterback Matt Nichols, who will be delivering the ball to Calhoun on a regular basis.

 

"I think he's going to be a real good quarterback," said Calhoun. "He's only going to get better week after week."

 

And it's all connected . . . Nichols delivers the ball to Calhoun and Calhoun also has to block for Nichols.  While the tight ends run routes like receivers, the focus is somewhat geared toward the trenches.

 

"We work on blocking more," said Calhoun. "Our coaches feel confident that when we run our routes we can catch the ball."

 

And since Eastern has had such a history of great offensive lines in the past, it's an expectation to live up to.

 

"The tight ends are part of that -- that's a pride that we have," said Calhoun.

 

Of course, one thing you won't hear the coaches teaching in practice is how to talk smack, something that's prevalent whenever you try to beat someone by running past them.

 

"I try not to jabber too much," said Calhoun. "If there's a guy who likes to talk, then I may talk a little bit."

 

And then of course, there's the Montana Grizzlies at home. Any Eagle would be hard pressed to hold their tongue.

 

"It's kind of fun just to mess around with the crowd," said Calhoun. "They talk more than any other fans in college football."

 

And the tight end definitely can back up his play. Ask him what his favorite route is and his answer defines just what kind of player he is for the Big Red. Tough.

 

"I like the short routes where I turn it up to try and run someone over and get some contact."

View: Mobile | Desktop