On a windy day at Roos Field, running game the focus as Eastern concludes its second week of spring practice
Blustery weather conditions didn’t affect the running game.
The Eastern Washington University offense, including junior running back Mario Brown, rushed for 97 yards to highlight a 45-play football scrimmage Saturday (April 13) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
Eastern’s offensive units finished with 223 yards of offense, with three touchdown drives all led by different quarterbacks. The highlight defensively was the No. 1 unit stopping the No. 1 offense on a pair of three-and-outs in the early stages of the scrimmage.
Brown, who was the starting running back for Eastern’s final two games of its National Championship season in 2010, had 44 rushing yards on nine carries and scored twice. Junior Quincy Forte added 37 yards on nine attempts, and redshirt freshman Jabari Wilson added four yards on two rushes.
Senior Demitrius Bronson is the returning starter but was held out of Saturday’s scrimmage. The depth at that position has enabled junior Jordan Talley to move from running back to linebacker. Brown redshirted last season and shared playing time in 2011 with Forte, Talley and Bronson.
“I am excited for Mario coming back, and I am excited for the backs as a whole,” said Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin. “There is some new stuff for the backs too. They are getting used to seeing things, where things hit, and how things are run with certain terminology. Some of it is new for them. It is fun to see Mario back and healthy. We also have Quincy and Demitrius back, which allowed us to move a great football player like Jordan over to defense.”
After two-and-outs on his first two possessions, 2012 Freshman All-American quarterback Vernon Adams directed the offense on a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. He completed a pair of passes to Cory Mitchell for 44 yards on the drive, and 3 yards to tight end Cody Humphrey for the touchdown.
Earlier, backup Anthony Vitto led a 10-play, 65-yard drive capped by a 1-yard scoring run by Brown, and redshirt freshman Jordan West directed a 12-play, 65-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard score by Brown. The three quarterbacks combined to complete 12-of-22 passes for 126 yards and no interceptions.
“We were able to get (Vernon) in a rhythm with that score on the third series,” said Baldwin. “I am very pleased with his progress. Obviously, he is a different player, and he has a different mindset than he had last year. Anthony and Jordan are doing some good things and coming along with some stuff that is new. There are more things thrown on their plate than ever before.”
Senior wide receivers Ashton Clark and Daniel Johnson each caught three passes, and combined for 61 yards. Redshirt freshman Miquiyah Zamora led the defense with seven tackles.
“I thought the players turned it on considering the heavy wind and a little snow,” Baldwin added of the less-than-desirable weather conditions. “They did not just try and get through it. They may have made a lot of mistakes at times, but their attitude and mentality was to go out there and get something done every play.”
Mario Brown 1 run (10 plays, 65 yards)
Brown 2 run (12 plays, 65 yards)
Cody Humphrey 3 pass from Vernon Adams (6 plays, 65 yards)
Rushing: Mario Brown 9-44, Quincy Forte 9-37, Vernon Adams 1-12, Jabari Wilson 2-4, Jordan West 1-4, Anthony Vitto 1-minus-4, Totals 23-97.
Passing: Vernon Adams 5-8-54, Anthony Vitto 4-8-41, Jordan West 3-6-31, Totals 12-22-126.
Receiving: Daniel Johnson 3-34, Ashton Clark 3-27, Cory Mitchell 2-44, Nick Lenoue 1-12, Terry Jackson 1-5, Cody Humphrey 1-3, Cooper Kupp 1-1, Totals 12-126.
Sacks: Derek Weston.
Passes Broken Up: Dylan Zylstra, John Goldwire.
Tackles: Miquiyah Zamora 7, Zackary Johnson 4, Stefan Green 3, Brandon Kirian 3, Diamonte Wiggins 2, John Goldwire 2, Dylan Zylstra 2, Brandon Jimerson 2, Jordan Talley 2, Derek Weston 1, Bo Schuetzle 1, Jordan Tonani 1, Jakob Pugsley 1, Cody McCarthy 1, Cedric Gonzalez 1, Joe Hunt 1, Anthony Larry 1, Zach Bruce 1, Isaac Morse 1.
More Beau Baldwin Comments
Overall: “There are just some inconsistencies we have to keep cleaning up. That is always the case this early (in the spring). To me, this was more of a practice where we did more live plays at the end. This to me is not a scrimmage. Next week will be a better test of certain things that we’ve improved on in a scrimmage standpoint. We will have officials at the field. We will see how we are in-between plays and how quick we are lining up. There is a lot of sloppiness that is not game ready.”
On Standouts: “Nothing jumps out until after I watch video. I am so focused on the next play that I am not really seeing some of the stuff (on the field). Once I watch the film, I will have answers for you. There will be some surprises, some good stuff and things we need to clean up. Until then, it felt like a typical practice. There were a few three-and-outs and sloppiness. There were a couple drives where we went down and scored. We just need to clean some stuff up.”
On Vernon Adams: “I thought Vernon has had a solid five days of practice thus far. That’s how I look at it. The first two series we were focusing on the run, so he may end up with one or two incompletions. It was three-and-out, but he didn’t run many plays yet.”
On Handling Everything: “They are handling it better than the average (team). We have a smart group, and they really study the game and take it seriously. We thought this was a group we could scrimmage with and make it a productive situation. They are swimming with a lot of stuff, but we have had some groups in the past that it would not look close to even this. (The groups in the past) couldn’t handle it. This group handles it well.”
On Defense: “I thought the defense had a couple key stops, especially some of the older guys. They were the ones and some of the twos. Some of the young players just need more reps. They need more game reps. This is a different deal. All of a sudden you are out there and all the coaches are on the sideline. You are on an island, and you don’t have someone coaching right behind you. Some of the young guys on defense are still swimming a little bit. We are throwing a lot of formations (at them), and it’s new. It is the first time they have been in that near game atmosphere where they are getting instruction from the sidelines. They will keep progressing. Our young offensive guys (need to do the) same thing. They just need to keep progressing.”