Pair of touchdown passes from Bo Levi Mitchell to Nicholas Edwards highlight last scrimmage before next Saturday’s Red-White Game
For obvious reason, Beau liked what he saw out of Bo and “Beau.”
Eastern’s offense rolled up 427 passing yards and 106 on the ground as Eastern Washington University wrapped up its second full week of spring football practices with a 79-play scrimmage Saturday (April 17) at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash. Eastern returns to Woodward Field next Saturday (April 24) for the annual Red-White Game at 2 p.m.
Transfer quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell completed 15-of-21 passes for 202 yards, including a pair of touchdown strikes to sophomore Nicholas Edwards. Junior Darriell Beaumonte led the running game with five rushes for 58 yards, including a bone-crushing 29 yard run, a week after the player nicknamed “Beau” rushed for 98 yards in EWU’s first scrimmage of the spring.
“We operated a little bit better on offense than we did the week before,” said third-year head coach Beau Baldwin. “We moved the ball a little bit better, got into a better rhythm and played a little faster.”
Eastern’s other two quarterbacks who played were also impressive. Junior Nick Gauthier was 12-of-19 for 91 yards and freshman redshirt Anthony Vitto was 7-of-10 for 134 yards and a 33-yard touchdown pass to Greg Herd. A sophomore who lettered as a true freshman last season, Herd also had a 30-yard completion from Vitto and finished with four catches for 80 yards. Edwards finished with three grabs for 48 yards.
Freshman redshirt running back Daniel Johnson added 63 yards from scrimmage -- 30 on eight rushes and another 33 on six receptions. Despite a pair of interceptions, including one on a shovel pass by Mitchell that was picked-off by sophomore Evan Cook, Baldwin was impressed by the way the offense cleaned-up mistakes from the previous week. Eastern fumbled three times (losing one) and had a pair of interceptions in last week’s 57-play scrimmage.
“We still turned it over too many times, but we definitely took care of the football better from a fumble standpoint,” Baldwin said. “One of the interceptions I’ll put on myself as much as anything -- we tried a little shovel pass. We got better in (the turnover) area but we’re still not where we need to be.”
Sophomore linebacker Tyler Washburn led the defense with nine tackles, and recently converted quarterback Jeff Minnerly had seven from his safety position. Sophomore safety Erich Armstrong had five tackles and a pair of passes broken up, and freshman redshirt linebacker J.C. Agen added five tackles after getting eight last week.
Sophomore Jerry Ceja had two of the team’s three sacks, with the other one recorded by Levi Reynolds. The other interception was by walk-on Shane Stagg.
“Defensively we’re flying around,” said Baldwin of a defense that did not have available several returning starters who were out with injuries or taking the scrimmage off. “We’re still looking for depth and we’re finding guys. When we watch film, we’ll probably see some of those players stepping up and making plays. We have a lot of twos and threes who will work their way on our travel squad and maybe starting. That’s a neat thing on both sides of the ball.”
Baldwin came away impressed by the team’s quarterback play, including Mitchell. He came to Eastern this spring from Southern Methodist University where he started all 19 of the games he played.
“He’s playing really well, especially for a player who has only been here nine practices,” said Baldwin. “Everybody sees the physical tools -- they are there. He can fling the ball around, and not only that, he can put touch on the ball and put it in spots. He’s making a few mental mistakes, but there aren’t as many as you usually get from somebody who just got here -- that’s what has impressed me the most about him.
“Nick and Anthony are the next two guys getting a lot of reps and they’ll continue to battle,” Baldwin added of the five-player battle at quarterback as EWU seeks to replace two-time Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year Matt Nichols. “Those three players will probably get the majority of snaps through the rest of the spring and we’ll go from there. I want to go into the summer with a starter. I think it’s good for the team to know that.”
Baldwin also came away impressed by the progress this week of Minnerly, a 2008 graduate of Ferris High School in Spokane, Wash., who moved to safety on Tuesday (April 13). The sophomore hasn’t played defense since his freshman year in high school.
“Last week when I did watch film of him and see the things he was doing, I was very impressed with him for a player who hasn’t played defense for a long time,” Baldwin explained. “I think he was more nervous about it than some of the coaches. I was impressed, but I wasn’t shocked -- I was impressed how quickly he got out there and knew where to go, and made an interception in practice. We have to huddle more when Jeff is out there because he knows every play. I’m very happy with his progress and the move we made with Jeff.”
FG Mike Jarrett 40
Nicholas Edwards 27 pass from Bo Levi Mitchell (Jarrett kick)
Edwards 16 pass from Mitchell (Jarrett kick)
FG Jarrett 37
Greg Herd 33 pass from Anthony Vitto (Jarrett kick)
Rushing: Darriell Beaumonte 5-58, Daniel Johnson 8-30, Chase King 2-14, Derek Talley 2-8, Tyler Hart 1-5, Anthony Vitto 1-5, Nick Gauthier 6-minus-6, Bo Levi Mitchell 1-minus 8, Total 26-106.
Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell 15-21-202-1, Nick Gauthier 12-19-91-0, Anthony Vitto 7-10-134-1, Team 0-3-0-0, Totals 34-53-427-2.
Receiving: Daniel Johnson 6-33, Greg Herd 4-83, Ashton Clark 4-53, Nicholas Edwards 3-48, Brandon Kaufman 3-41, Parker Flynn 3-36, Tyler Hart 3-29, Darriell Beaumonte 3-22, Matt Martin 2-61, Chase King 2-7, Mat Lawrence 1-14, Totals 34-427.
Interceptions: Evan Cook, Shane Stagg.
Passes Broken Up: Erich Armstrong 2, Dante Calcote 1, Artise Gauldin 1, Chandler Gayton 1,
Sacks: Jerry Ceja 2, Levi Reynolds 1.
Fumble Recoveries: None.
Leading Tacklers: Tyler Washburn 9, Jeff Minnerly 7, Erich Armstrong 5, J.C. Agen 5, Paul Ena 4, Jesse Hoffman 3, Artise Gauldin 3, Grant Williams 3.
Remaining Practices: Practices take place various days through April 29. Most practices are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. (media interviews at approximately 3:45 p.m. or after practice at about 6 p.m.). All practices take place on the EWU Sports and Recreation Center practice fields.
April 20 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 21 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 24 - Red-White Spring Game, 2 p.m., Woodward Field
April 27 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 28 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 29 - Practice, 4 p.m.
Scrimmages: The annual Red-White Game will take place on Saturday, April 24 at 2 p.m. at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash., in conjunction with Killin Weekend at EWU.
Killin Dinner/Dance/Auction: Orland Killin Weekend, which is presented by the Michael Roos Foundation, includes the Coaches Golf Tournament on April 23 and the annual Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction following the Red-White Game on April 24. Besides the presence of former Eagle and Tennessee Titan Michael Roos, this year’s event features host Colin Cowherd, who is a former EWU student and is current an ESPN radio and TV personality. More information on Killin Weekend is available at: http://goeags.com/trads/ewas-killin.html and http://goeags.com/genrel/releases/10atFeb11ColinCowherd.