Eastern happy to see sun for first day of spring football - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Eastern Washington - Football

Eastern happy to see sun for first day of spring football

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Roughly 60 players are expected to participate in the Eagles spring drills this year (Photo: SWX) Roughly 60 players are expected to participate in the Eagles spring drills this year (Photo: SWX)

CHENEY, Wash. - Coming off a tough offseason after being sanctioned by the NCAA, the Eastern Eagles were happy to see the sun Tuesday for their first day of spring football practice.

The Eagles began spring football without pads, and decided to run without pads both Wednesday and Thursday before strapping in and getting to the real work.  More than anything, they're pleased to be able to begin practice as planned.  Last year the team had to delay spring ball because of the weather - snow.

"Had we tried to practice last week, we would have been in the same situation.  So it's nice.  But, regardless, we're just excited to be outside and actually practicing," said coach Beau Baldwin, now in his second year with the team.

There wasn't any snow to speak of Tuesday, as Baldwin expected to see roughly 60 players participating in spring drills, including 38 returning letter winners.  Practices are Tuesday, Wednesdays and Thursdays through April 30.  A scrimmage is planned for April 11 and April 18, with the annual Red-White game slated for April 25 at 2 p.m.

The Eagles will try to better themselves this year, after finishing the 2008 season with a 6-5 record.  Twelve players who earned All-Big Sky Conference honors return to the Eagles this year, including wide receivers Aaron Boyce and Brynsen Brown.  Boyce caught 63 passes for 917 yards and 10 touchdowns last year as a junior. 

Also back for the 2009 season will be quarterback Matt Nichols, who was honorable mention All-Big Sky last year, and Taiwan Jones, who will move from cornerback to running back to help replace four departed seniors at that position.

On the defensive side of the ball, twin brothers Matt and Zach Johnson return after combining for 179 tackles last year.  They ranked 1-2 on the team in tackles in 2008.

Players not participating in spring practice:

  • Nicolas Ramos (Special teams) - shoulder injury
  • Ethen Robinson (Defensive Back) - shoulder injury
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