Big Plays by Defense Include Big Day by Hamlin at Saturday Scrimmage
Defense finishes with three interceptions, three sacks and seven passes broken up in holding offense to 3.7 yards per play
There were big plays all around for the Eagle defense, and a whole lot of tackles by senior All-America linebacker Ronnie Hamlin.
Hamlin had 11 tackles, a sack and returned an interception for a touchdown to set the tone early for the Eastern Washington University football team Saturday (April 20) in an 88-play scrimmage at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
The Eagles marked the mid-point of spring practice with the situational scrimmage, which has become a spring staple of the Eagles and head coach Beau Baldwin. Baldwin wasn’t overly concerned about the outcome, but knows his offensive squad has a lot of work ahead to improve upon an outing that included four turnovers and several other unforced errors.
“I have been coaching long enough to know scrimmages will go however they go,” he explained. “That is not an excuse (for the offense). We need to figure out how to get better.”
The offensive players will get their chance at the team’s annual Red-White Game on April 27 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field. The Red-White Game is part of “Eagle Week” at EWU, featuring the 32nd Annual Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction starting at 4:30 p.m. on April 27.
“I don’t get overly excited about things going well, and I don’t get too panicky when things don’t go well,” Baldwin continued. “We have to come back and learn from our plays offensively and build on our plays defensively.”
The defense finished with three interceptions, three sacks and had seven passes broken up on another blustery day at “The Inferno.” The offense finished with 44 rushing attempts and 44 passing attempts, but managed only 3.7 yards per play. They had 122 yards rushing and 201 passing on the day.
All three of the offensive scores came in red zone possessions. At one point, the offensive units managed just one first down in eight consecutive possessions for either their own 30 or own 35 yard line.
“The worst thing we can do if we are successful is rest,” said Baldwin. “Sometimes it is a lot easier to come back if you get your teeth kicked in than if things go really well for you. We need to look at and work on the unforced errors. We are okay with plays being made, but when they are unforced, we need to clean it up.”
Eagle fans were able to see an impressive debut by UCLA transfer Tevin McDonald on Saturday. He practiced for the first time in pads on Tuesday, and has been making steady progress familiarizing himself with the Eagle program. His first day of classes at EWU was on April 11.
The junior safety finished with five tackles, broke-up a sure touchdown pass and had an interception on a pass that was broken up by running back-turned-linebacker Jordan Talley. Talley also had four tackles and forced a fumble.
Cornerback Ronald Baines added an interception and a pass broken up, and safety Jordan Tonani had four tackles and a sack.
Starting quarterback Vernon Adams completed 14-of-24 passes for 144 yards through the air, and added 13 yards on the ground. But he had all three of the interceptions for the offense, which also had a lost fumble that was forced by Talley and recovered by McDonald.
Hamlin had an interception return for a touchdown on the fifth possession of the scrimmage, followed by a 7-yard TD pass from Adams to Ashton Clark, who led all receivers with nine catches for 93 yards. The offense followed with a 21-yard field goal by Kevin Miller.
Adams then drove the offense 63 yards on seven plays on a two-minute drill, but that ended with McDonald’s interception. Later in the scrimmage, freshman redshirt quarterback Jordan West scored on a 1-yard run, followed by his successful pass to Clark on the conversion attempt.
A week ago on a blustery day in Cheney, Eastern’s offensive units finished with 223 yards of offense in a 45-play scrimmage, 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.
Ronnie Hamlin 14 interception return
Ashton Clark 7 pass from Vernon Adams (Kevin Miller kick)
FG Kevin Miller 21
Jordan West 1 run (Ashton Clark from Jordan West)
Rushing: Jabari Wilson 15-48, Cody Hecker 4-16, Vernon Adams 5-13, Anthony Vitto 4-12, Mario Brown 8-11, Nick Washburn 6-11, Jordan West 2-11, Totals 44-122.
Passing: Vernon Adams 14-24 144 3int, Anthony Vitto 5-12 54, Jordan West 1-8 3, Totals 20-44-201 3int.
Receiving: Ashton Clark 9-93, Daniel Johnson 3-45, Cory Mitchell 3-14, Cooper Kupp 2-30, Nick Washburn 1-9, Cody Humphrey 1-5, Ryan Seto 1-5, Totals 20-201.
Interceptions: Tevin McDonald, Ronnie Hamlin, Ronald Baines.
Forced Fumble: Jordan Talley.
Fumble Recovery: Tevin McDonald.
Sacks: Jordan Tonani, Ronnie Hamlin, Ashton Boothroyd.
Passes Broken Up: Tevin McDonald, Jordan Talley, Bo Schuetzle, Ronald Baines, Dylan Zylstra, Branson Schmidt, John Goldwire.
Tackles: Ronnie Hamlin 11, Tevin McDonald 5, Cedric Gonzalez 5, Will Katoa 5, Miquiyah Zamora 4, John Goldwire 4, Jordan Talley 4, Jordan Tonani 4, Jakob Pugsley 4, Cody McCarthy 4, Zach Bruce 3, Zackary Johnson 2, Derek Weston 2, Joe Hunt 2, Anthony Larry 2, Jordan Thompson 2, Ashton Boothroyd 2, Zach Wimberly 2,
More Beau Baldwin Comments
On Challenges: “Our challenges are getting used to terminology and game speed, especially offensively. Traditionally, sometimes you are farther behind offensively than you are defensively early in camps and spring ball. Those are some of the challenges. That starts with me too. I am not in the rhythm and I need to be to allow certain aspects to get better. Again, this is the eighth practice of spring ball. It is practice eight out of forty-four before we play Oregon State. That’s how we look at it. We have to come back and see how we can get better at practice.”
On Improvements: “I didn’t see it today offensively, but in the past seven days of practice before this, we are seeing a lot of things we like in practice. We just have to take the next step forward in many areas, me included. We need to get closer to game ready. We are a long way from that, but that’s the goal and that’s the challenge we face.”
On Receivers: “I don’t see (our receiving game) as being an issue. When you watch practices you will see that it is not as big of an issue as how it would look as if you watched the scrimmage. In season, you are judged by what you do during games. In the offseason, you are judged by the scrimmages. As coaches, we get to see day-to-day play. We still have a ton of work, but they are going to work together all summer. (The receiving game) is always going to be something that happens when you have a new group come together.”
On Work for Practice: “We think (we need) more game situations. I don’t necessarily just mean the scenarios I put them in for practice, but having them come to the sideline and make sure they are able to do the little things we need to do in a game situation. As coaches, we have been out on the field and been there (during practices), but that might be part of why this scrimmage was a bit choppy. We have not practiced in enough scenarios where we are transitioning players and moving them on and off the field.”
Spring Practice Schedule
Practices take place various days through May 2. Most practices are scheduled to start at 4 p.m. (media interviews at approximately 3:35 p.m. or after practice at about 6 p.m.). All practices take place at Roos Field. Scrimmages also take place on the red Sprinturf surface at the “Inferno” in Cheney, Wash.
April 23 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 25 - Practice, 4 p.m.
April 27 – Red-White Spring Game, 2 p.m., Roos Field
April 30 - Practice, 4 p.m.
May 1 – Practice (no pads), 4:30 p.m.
May 2 - Practice, 4 p.m.
Note: No scrimmage will take place on May 3 or 4 as previously listed.
The annual Red-White Game will take place on Saturday, April 27 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field in conjunction with Killin Weekend at EWU. The Red-White Game will be televised live in the Spokane area by SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Davis Cable 514/81.2/12; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466; Northland Cable 115).
Note: No scrimmage will take place on May 3 or 4 as previously listed.
Eagle Week Schedule
Wednesday, April 24
* 6 p.m. – Viewing of “The Road to the Championship” – The “Q” at Northern Quest Casino & Resort – No Admission Charge . . . Join Eagle fans for no-host food and beverages, and re-live the excitement of the fairytale season that led the Eagles all the way to Frisco, Texas, for the 2010 NCAA Division I Championship. The story begins with the inaugural year of “The Inferno” at Roos Field, and includes the colossal defeat of Montana, a romp through the Big Sky schedule, three spectacular home playoff wins and then climaxes with the national title. The video was produced and edited by Davin Perry.
Friday, April 26
* Noon to 5 p.m. – Bookstore Kiosk at Riverpark
Square in Downtown Spokane . . . The EWU Bookstore
will be selling apparel at a first-floor kiosk at Riverpark Square
in downtown Spokane. Representatives of the Eastern Athletic
department will also be on hand selling football season tickets for
the 2013 season, which includes five home games at “The
Inferno” at Roos Field in Cheney.
* Noon -- 26th Annual Coaches Golf Tournament – Fairways Golf Course -- $125 per person . . . Join the Eagle Football coaching staff for 18 holes of golfing fun. Registration and information for that event is available at www.goeags.com or by calling John Graham at 509.359.6918. Hurry because it always sells out!
Saturday, April 27
* Noon – EWU Volleyball Scrimmage – EWU Sports & Recreation Center Courts -- No Admission Charge . . . The Eagles, under the direction of Wade Benson, give fans a sneak peak of the 2013 squad. Benson returns for his second stint as EWU’s head coach, after helping lead EWU to one NCAA Tournament berth, three Big Sky regular season titles and one Big Sky Tournament championship. He had an impressive record of 154-55 (.737) from 2000-06, and his Big Sky record during that time of 78-24 (.765) still ranks among the top four in conference history.
* 2 p.m. – Red-White Game – Roos Field – No Admission Charge . . . The Eagles will conclude their third week of spring football practice with their annual game at “The Inferno.” The game will also be televised live by SWX (SWX Digital 6.2 in Spokane, 25.3 in the Tri-Cities & 23.3 in the Yakima area; Comcast 115; Davis Cable 514/81.2/12; Time Warner 306; Charter 287, Cable One 466; Northland Cable 115).
* 4:30 p.m. -- 32nd Annual Killin Dinner/Dance/Auction – EWU Sports & Recreation Center -- $100 per person or $700 for a table of 8 . . . The event starts with a social hour and auction at 4:30 p.m., followed by the dinner (6:15 p.m.), program/presentations/live auction (7:15 p.m.) and dancing (8 p.m.). Besides online at www.goeags.com, tickets may also be obtained by calling 509-359-2463 or 1-800-648-7697. Net proceeds benefit areas of greatest need within Eastern Athletics. The event is named in honor of Orland Killin, who, along with his wife Bernice, helped create the event. Killin was a man immensely dedicated to academics and the integrity of Eastern Washington University, serving as professor, faculty athletic representative and faculty president. He was an Eastern football letter winner in 1941-42.