Vernon Adams finishes with 204 total yards and throws for three touchdowns in situational scrimmage with plenty of short-field opportunities for the offense
It may have looked lopsided in favor of the offense, but that was only because of the situational nature of the first football scrimmage of the fall for the Eastern Washington University football team Saturday (Aug. 17) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
The offense scored eight touchdowns and had 466 yards of offense in the 86-play scrimmage. But head coach Beau Baldwin also watched the defense force a pair of turnovers – turning one of them into points – and break-up five passes with a pair of sacks and a quarterback hurry.
“I thought it was the type of scrimmage where both sides did great things,” said Baldwin. “We got to hit a lot of different things that could happen during the season, like our backs are against the wall coming out, red zone and sudden change. We hit them with a lot of huddle stuff, but we also used our up-tempo offense a bunch.”
Led by the 204 yards of total offense and three touchdown passes by sophomore quarterback Vernon Adams, the scrimmage wrapped up the first week-and-a-half of practices for the Eagles. Eastern will also scrimmage next Saturday (Aug. 24) at 9:45 a.m. at Roos Field, before opening the season Aug. 31 at Oregon State.
Although Adams led the offense on TD drives of 85 and 87 yards, the majority of the scrimmage consisted of short-field situations for the offense. The results were lots of scores and yards, but just having experience is a wide variety of downs, distances and field positions was more important to Baldwin.
“I think the advantage is if we get in those situations on Saturdays, it is not the first time,” he explained. “We do a ton of (different situations) in practice. We talk about the time on the clock before the half, and we get in those situations with a lot of drills in practice. I think that is why we are able to remain calm when it is in the middle practice because they remember going through that. That is what I want this first scrimmage to be. I don’t want to set the ball down and go, and not get enough red zone or enough fourth downs. I just want to prepare our guys for the season.”
Adams completed 17-of-27 passes for 159 yards, but had an interception that was returned 55 yards for a score by sophomore safety Todd Raynes. Backup quarterback Anthony Vitto was 12-of-16 for 105 yards and a pair of scores, and redshirt freshman Jordan West was 3-of-7 for 43 yards.
Freshman redshirt Cooper Kupp caught nine passes for 77 yards and a pair of scores. Adams was the leading rusher with 45 yards in six carries. But with veteran running backs Demitrius Bronson and Quincy Forte sidelined for precautionary reasons, freshman redshirt running backs Jabari Wilson and Jalen Moore had 42 and 35 yards, respectively, as the offense finished with 159 yards rushing.
Senior All-America linebacker Ronnie Hamlin had three tackles, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery for the defense. Senior cornerback Bo Schuetzle out of Spokane’s Shadle Park High School added a pair of tackles, a forced fumble and a pass broken up. Raynes finished with three tackles, his interception and a pass broken up.
Freshmen redshirts Zach Bruce and Jordan Thompson each had seven tackles, as did true freshman linebacker Albert Havili. Havili and another true freshman, Matthew Sommer, each had sacks.
Eastern is off on Sunday, but resumes practices on Monday with a pair of workouts at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Jalen Moore 1 run (Kevin Miller kick)
Cooper Kupp 10 pass from Anthony Vitto (Christian Fanning kick)
Shaquille Hill 22 pass from Adams (Anthony Larry pass from Adams)
Cory Mitchell 14 pass from Adams (Miller kick)
Todd Raynes 55 interception return (Fanning kick)
Kupp 7 pass from Vitto (Miller kick)
Moore 3 run (Fanning kick)
Cody Hecker 3 run (Miller kick)
Daniel Johnson 3 pass from Adams (Fanning kick)
Rushing: Vernon Adams 6-45, Jabari Wilson 9-42, Jalen Moore 8-35, Nick Washburn 6-29, Mario Brown 4-7, Cody Hecker 1-3, Anthony Vitto 2-minus 2, Totals 36-159.
Passing: Vernon Adams 17-27-159 1int, Anthony Vitto 12-16-105, Jordan West 3-7-43, Totals 32-50-307 1int.
Receiving: Cooper Kupp 9-77, Cory Mitchell 3-45, Terry Jackson 1-36, Kendrick Bourne 3-34, Shaquille Hill 2-28, Cody Hecker 2-19, Zack Gehring 4-17, Daniel Johnson 3-17, Nic Sblendorio 2-21, Ryan Seto 2-9, Mario Brown 1-4, Totals 32-307.
Interceptions: Todd Raynes.
Forced Fumbles: Bo Schuetzle.
Fumble Recovery: Ronnie Hamlin.
Sacks: Matthew Sommer, Albert Havili.
Quarterback Hurries: Ronnie Hamlin.
Passes Broken Up: Tevin McDonald, Jordan Talley, Bo Schuetzle, Ronald Baines, Zackary Johnson.
Tackles: Zach Bruce 7, Jordan Thompson 7, Albert Havili 7, Christian Hudnell 5, Jake Gall 5, Tevin McDonald 4, Samson Ebukam 4, Ronald Baines 3, Todd Raynes 3, Miles Weatheroy 3, Isaiah Jenkins 3, Zach Wimberly 3, Dylan Zylstra 2, Cody McCarthy 2, Allen Brown 2, Bo Schuetzle 2, Moe Roberts 2, Zackary Johnson 2, Andre Lino 2, Matthew Sommer 2, Joe Douglas 2, Andru Pulu 1, Will Katoa 1, Ashton Boothroyd 1, Anthony Larry 1, D’londo Tucker 1.
More Beau Baldwin Quotes
On Cooper Kupp: “Without watching film it is hard to tell (how well Cooper did). I was joking and asked him if he got in the end zone, and he told me twice. I focus play-to-play. I look at camp as a whole. I don’t get caught up in what one player does. I am looking at his entire camp, and he has been very productive. He has been as consistent as a young player I have seen. That is a tribute to his mental toughness. A lot of young players will show flashes, but they don’t have the consistency. That’s what we like about Cooper. We know he has talent and makes plays, but we like that he has consistent work ethic.”
On Vernon Adams: “He has taken a leadership role. He progresses every day in camp, and he is getting better. He is going to be hard on himself. He may end up with a great stat line, but he will think he should have been better or he should have done something else. I love that about him. He is never satisfied. He has stepped up as a leader. I have watched him inspire people even when the situation doesn’t go great. That is the definition of a leader. He can bring people up, bring people going forward and keep their heads up when things are not going well. That is the true definition of a leader. I am seeing him do that more and more with the group.”
On Defense with Running Game: “We came out of the summer as physical as I can ever remember. We still have to work on our running and timing like everyone else is at this time, but there is a physicalness that is a little bit different than some years past. (The credit) goes out to the players and the strength coaches, and I am excited. That adds to both sides of the ball, both the defense and the running game.”
On Receivers: “We teach our receivers that we don’t call you just a C, an X or a slide -- you learn everything. Some guys may play more slot than anything else, but I want them to learn the entire offense and the concept of each play. It makes the receivers better than just memorizing their single position and it lets us move our receivers so we can change their positions game to game. We will get in different groupings of personnel. I want Cooper and all our receivers to progress to that point. Our older guys are at that level, and the younger guys are getting to that level. You are learning each play as a concept, not memorizing what your position is when you hear the call.”
On Ronnie Hamlin: “Ronnie comes to work, brings his lunch pail and does his deal. He leads by example. He will say stuff when he needs to, but for the most part it is about his work ethic and how hard he plays (that the guys learn from). He is that type of leader, and we are lucky to have him. He is great for the other guys to go against because they are going against one of the best backers in the country. When you go against that every day you get better. That is why I love seeing Ronnie on the other side of the ball.”
Tentative Schedule of Remaining EWU Practices
(Times are subject to change. Practices usually last for two hours. Media interviews take place after practice and scrimmages, or 20-30 minutes before the practice time listed; No interviews two days or less before day of games; Call EWU SID office before practices to confirm time and location)
Sunday, Aug. 18 – Off
Monday, Aug. 19 – 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 20 - 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 21 - 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 22 – 9 a.m.
Friday, Aug. 23 – 9 a.m. & 3 p.m.
Saturday, Aug. 24 – Scrimmage, approx.9:45 a.m., Roos Field
Sunday, Aug. 25 – Off
Monday, Aug. 26 – 3 p.m.
Tuesday, Aug. 27 – 3 p.m.
Wednesday, Aug. 28 - 3 p.m.
Thursday, Aug. 29 – 3 p.m.
Friday, Aug. 30 – Travel Day to Oregon State
Saturday, Aug. 31 – EWU vs. OSU, 3 p.m. Pacific time