Eagles Scrimmage Wednesday at 3 p.m.

Aug. 21, 2007

As scrimmages go, this one is pretty darn important for the Eastern Washington University football team.

Wanting to show improved tackling on defense and sharper timing on offense, the Eagles will scrimmage Wednesday (Aug. 22) at about 3 p.m. at Woodward Field in Cheney, Wash. The scrimmage is free and open to the public as the Eagles continue preparations for their season-opener on Friday, Aug. 31 at Woodward Field at 7:05 p.m. Pacific time.

"Defensively we want to see how well we tackle and offensively we want to get our timing down," he said.

The scrimmage will consist of 45-50 plays and will include starting units taking on backups. Finding depth will be among the priorities for the coaching staff, but solidifying the team's starting lineup will also be important -- particularly in the secondary and along the offensive line.

Wulff will also get a look at several players who have recently changed positions. Included are brothers Jesse Hoffman and Shane Hoffman, who have moved from running back and wide receiver, respectively, to help at safety. Projected starter Gregor Smith has been lost for the season with a nagging shoulder injury, and the Eagles are looking to fill that void in the defensive backfield.

Also, Wulff said the Eagles have moved Robert Pearson from defensive back to running back and Aaron Cartwright from defensive back to wide receiver. Tim Williams, a transfer from the University of Washington where he was a tight end, will play at defensive end for Eastern.

Wulff said the battle for the starting kicker position continues, although junior college transfer Felipe Macias has taken a slight edge over freshmen redshirts Matt Pierce and Craig Danielson. Washington State transfer Fritz Brayton has all but locked up the starting punter position.

Montana-Western is the first lower division opener for Eastern since 1997. It is also the first time Eastern will open the season at Woodward Field since 1997, when Eastern finished 12-2 and advanced to the "Final Four" of the Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs.

In eight of the nine seasons since 1997, Eastern has opened the season on the road against a Football Bowl Subdivision foe. Just once in those nine seasons -- a 35-17 victory at Connecticut -- has Eastern opened the season with a victory.

Following its opener, Eastern has a week off and will treat it like a week of preseason camp with a pair of two-a-day practices and another scrimmage on the morning of Sept. 7.

Eastern plays its second game of the season against UC-Davis at home on Sept. 15 before playing its first Big Sky game of the season at Idaho State on Sept. 22.

Eastern is coming off a 3-8 finish last year that included a 3-5 record in Big Sky Conference play after losing all three of its non-conference games. Eastern hopes to be a championship contender once again after sharing the Big Sky Conference title in both 2005 and 2006 and advancing to the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Playoffs both seasons.

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