EWU Finds Balance In Second Scrimmage - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU Finds Balance In Second Scrimmage

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The Eastern offense got things going a little better in its second scrimmage. The Eastern offense got things going a little better in its second scrimmage.

by EWU Athletics

CHENEY, Wash. -- Led by a 32-of-47 passing performance by four Eastern quarterbacks, Eastern Washington University offensive units rolled up 550 yards in the second football scrimmage of spring practice for the Eagles on Saturday at Roos Field. Spring practice continues through April 30, with the annual Red-White Spring Game taking place at 2 p.m. on April 25.

The Eagles passed for 309 yards and rushed for another 241 on 38 carries. The net result was 550 yards on 85 plays for a 6.5 average per play, more than twice the 3.1 average of a week ago. In last week's first scrimmage, the defense held the offense to 123 yards and one touchdown on 40 plays.

“I think they did a great job,” Eastern head coach Beau Baldwin said of his team's offensive improvement. “You just saw an operation that looks better, and that is a word that I keep using -- operation. There were still some balls on the ground and some turnovers that we still have to clean up. There is still going to be a ton to clean up on both sides of the ball, but I think we have a good base halfway through spring.”

This week, the No. 1 offense started the scrimmage with a 65-yard reverse for a touchdown by Shaq Hill, then starting quarterback Jordan West led a seven-play, 65-yard drive on the very next possession for the No. 1 offense.

West completed 8-of-11 passes for 105 yards, but freshman redshirt Gage Gubrud again provided the largest numbers. After giving up an interception to Keonte White on his first pass, Gubrud finished 10-of-13 for 117 yards, and also rushed five times for 51. A week ago when he directed the lone TD of the day for the offense, he was 4-of-7 for 42 yards and rushed for 10 more yards.

West didn't throw a TD pass, but Gubrud had a 32-yard touchdown pass to Cooper Kupp and also rushed for an 8-yard score. Conner Richardson had an 8-yard TD pass to Kendrick Bourne and Simba Webster caught a 6-yard scoring pass from fellow freshman redshirt Reilly Hennessey.

In all, 10 players caught passes, led by Webster with nine catches for 93 yards, Kupp with six for 69 and Bourne with five for 53.

Freshman redshirt Ashanti Kindle led the ground attack with 11 rushes for 76 yards and a 27-yard TD run, and he also caught a pair of passes for 15 yards. Baldwin was pleased how his team handled the myriad of game-like situations the coaching staff threw at the players.

“There was a lot of good stuff, and I love getting into the situations we were able to cover,” he said. “I love getting into red zone, coming out of our own end zone, two-minute drill, four-minute drill with the lead – I think this is one of my favorite scrimmages. Next week it will be a little bit more like a spring game and we will let them kind of go. But this one is probably one of the biggest ones in terms of the work you want to see with all of those different situations you are going face in the season.”

Besides White's interception, the defense forced two turnovers on fumbles, including one when Webster tried to extend the ball into the end zone. On a day in which quarterbacks were fair game – there were no quick whistles on sacks like usual -- the defense had five sacks by five different players.

Freshman redshirt linebacker Kurt Calhoun had 10 tackles on the day, and Kody Beckering and Mac McLachlan each had seven. Beckering also had a sack and pass broken up.

“Overall, I thought the energy was good and I think we played off of that good energy and competitiveness without losing composure,” Baldwin said. “Even when things didn't go right, our mentality is we are always going to respond on either side of the ball, and I thought we did that. The defense might give up a touchdown, but then came back and blocked the extra point instead of taking that play off. Or the offense might get into a second-and-long situation after a holding call, and still found a way to get that first down a couple of plays later.”

Eastern opened its 14-session spring practice schedule on April 2 and will practice Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday this week before the annual Red-White Game takes place on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field. But the Eagles will follow that with one more week of practice before wrapping up on April 30.

“I am looking forward to next week and looking forward to how different guys respond on Tuesday,” Baldwin added. “I will probably no more after we watch the film and talk as a staff to see where we are with certain things.”

Scrimmage Statistics 

SCORING PLAYS

Shaq Hill 65 run (Tyler McNannay kick)

Ashanti Kindle 27 run (Brandyn Bangsund kick)

Kendrick Bourne 8 pass from Conner Richardson (kick blocked)

Cooper Kupp 32 pass from Gage Gubrud (Trevor Merritt kick)

Simba Webster 6 pass from Reilly Hennessey (Jason Schwartz kick)

Gage Gubrud 11 run (Tyler Gyllenhammer kick)

RUSHING: Ashanti Kindle 11-76, Shaq Hill 1-65, Gage Gubrud 5-51, Colin Cossette 6-27, Jabari Wilson 5-22, Conner Richardson 4-7, Jordan West 2-minus-2, Samuel Mintah 1-minus-2, Reilly Hennessey 3-minus-3, Team Totals 38-241.

PASSING: Gage Gubrud 10-of-13 117 1interception, Jordan West 8-of-11 105, Reilly Hennessey 9-of-14 60, Conner Richardson 5-of-9 27, Team Totals 32-of-47 309 1interception.

RECEIVING: Simba Webster 9-93, Cooper Kupp 6-69, Kendrick Bourne 5-53, Stu Stiles 3-13, Terence Grady 2-27, Ashanti Kindle 2-15, Nic Sblendorio 2-13, Shaq Hill 1-18, Zach Eagle 1-4, Jabari Wilson 1-4, Team Totals 32-.

TACKLES LEADERS: Kurt Calhoun 10, Kody Beckering 7, Mac McLachlan 7, Zach Bruce 6, Alek Kacmarcik 6, Todd Raynes 5, Mitch Fettig 5, Conner Baumann 5.

INTERCEPTIONS: Keonte White.

SACKS: Todd Raynes, Kody Beckering, John Kreifels, Jonah Jordan, Andre Lino.

TACKLES FOR LOSS: Zach Bruce.

PASSES BROKEN UP: Frank Cange, Matthew Sommer, Kody Beckering.

FUMBLES RECOVERED: Kaleb Levao.

FUMBLES FORCED: Conner Baumann, Ramsey Davis.

Remaining Spring Practice Schedule

Spring practices continue through April 30. 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 are scheduled to take place at Roos Field. Scrimmages also take place on the red Sprinturf surface at the "Inferno" in Cheney, Wash.

April 21 - Practice, 4 p.m.

April 22 - Practice (no pads), 4:30 p.m.

April 23 - Practice, 4 p.m.

April 25 – Red-White Spring Game, 2 p.m., Roos Field

April 28 - Practice, 4 p.m.

April 30 – Practice, 4 p.m.

Spring Scrimmages

The annual Red-White Game will be live on SWX on Saturday, April 25 at 2 p.m. at Roos Field in conjunction with Eagle Week at EWU and the Orland Killin Lobster Dinner, Dance and Auction.

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