Saturday’s Red-White Game will be a glorified scrimmage with the offense going against the defense
Aside from a second-quarter promotion, Saturday’s (April 27) Red-White Game will be all business for the Eastern Washington University football team.
The game will be a glorified scrimmage of upwards of about 80 plays, and starts at 2 p.m. at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. The event is free and open to the public, and will include the “KHQ/SWX Weather Authority Inferno Showdown” in the second quarter between KHQ weather forecasters Leslie Lowe and Blake Jensen.
The Red-White Game is being televised live by KHQ’s sister station, SWX, with Sam Adams, Bill Ames and Larry Weir providing the commentary. The broadcast is on 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.
The offense will be in white jerseys and will be taking on the defense in red. No scoring will be kept, but head coach Beau Baldwin will have a keen eye on the progress made by the Eagles as they reach session 11 of a total of 14 practices utilized this spring.
“We threw a lot at them early,” explained Baldwin. “But we’re starting to see some progress.”
Each quarter on Saturday will consist of approximately 20 plays, with no time clock kept. Essentially, the competition is to see how many times the offense can score, and how many times the defense can stop the offense. Best of all, fans will be able to see the starting offensive and defensive units together, instead of splitting the team up into separate squads.
“We will set the ball in different spots on the field, which to me is game-like,” Baldwin explained. “In a game, there are sudden changes when the defense might have a short field or the offense might have a long field. We will find different spots on the field so we can approach different situations. From that point, it is game on.”
The offense is coming off a scrimmage a week ago that was dominated by the defense. The defense finished with three interceptions, three sacks and had seven passes broken up on a 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, and also had a few miscues on snaps from center.
“Obviously, we want to take away the unforced errors (on offense),” said. Baldwin. “I don’t mind big plays being made (on defense) -- it is good if guys are making plays on defense and creating a turnover. We just don’t want to have four turnovers as an offense. It doesn’t matter if we run 200 plays; turnovers are not something we are looking for.”
The Eagles will practice three more times – April 30th at 4 p.m., May 1 at 4:30 p.m. and May 2 at 4 p.m. – before heading into the offseason. Eastern opens the 2013 season on Aug. 31 at Oregon State.
Eagles Have Eye on the NFL Draft Too . . .
Also on Saturday, Baldwin and his program will have an eye on the internet, as rounds 4-7 of the NFL Draft take place. In the past two years, Matt Johnson (Dallas Cowboys in 2012) and Taiwan Jones (Oakland Raiders in 2011) have been taken.
This year, former Eagle Brandon Kaufman is considered the most likely to be taken in the draft. But fellow wide receivers Greg Herd and Nicholas Edwards, as well as quarterback Kyle Padron, linebacker Zach Johnson, offensive lineman Will Post and defensive end Jerry Ceja are also considered to be professional prospects.
A total of 64 Eagles have been drafted or signed free agent contracts with NFL or Canadian Football League teams since 1989, as well as several others at levels of pro football.
“It’s awesome for the program, and it’s awesome for the individuals involved,” said Baldwin. “I think we have at least four guys that are going to get an opportunity. If it is more than four, then that’s great. Canadian teams might talk to Ceja, Post or different guys that have not even been mentioned.
“I think it’s neat, but I don’t get too caught up in it,” he said of the draft. “I have seen Erik Meyer, Matt Nichols, Greg Peach, and a lot of other players come through here and not get drafted, but still go on to play football. I am just excited that we have a lot of guys off last year’s team who are going to get an opportunity to prolong their football careers, which is the dream. It’s cool, and it will be neat (to see).”
More on the “KHQ/SWX Weather Authority Inferno Showdown”
The “showdown” will take place on the first possession of the second quarter on the North end of the field. It will consist of a single red zone possession (25-yard line), with the offense and guest coach Leslie Lowe going against the defense and guest coach Blake Jensen.
Lowe and Jensen each have a list of plays provided by head coach Beau Baldwin and EWU defensive coordinator John Graham. Coach Baldwin (offense) and linebackers coach Josh Fetter (defense) will be on the sideline to help them secretly call plays for their respective team. The possession will last until the offense scores a TD, or the defense holds on four downs or forces a turnover.
“I am excited for our guest coaches,” said Baldwin. “We are going to give each of them a couple options. I should have used Leslie last week.
“Blake will be with the defense, so it will probably be a blitz every down if you are guest coach calling the defense,” he continued. “For a guest coaching for the offense, it is probably going to be a gadget play or throwing it deep, but there is not going to be a lot of room to throw it deep. We will see what Leslie comes up with. Maybe she will surprise us and run some power and inside zone.”