EWU's second spring scrimmage is Saturday at 10:40 a.m. at Roos - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

EWU's second spring scrimmage is Saturday at 10:40 a.m. at Roos Field

Courtesy: EWU Athletics Courtesy: EWU Athletics
By EWU Athletics
The Eastern Washington University football team will end its third week of spring practices with what is expected to be about a 70-play scrimmage this Saturday (April 22) at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
The Eagles will hit the field at 10 a.m., with the scrimmage expected to start at about 10:40 a.m. Fans are invited to attend free of charge in the last scrimmage before the annual Red-White Spring Game on April 29 at 2 p.m.
"We're looking for continued improvement and performance on both sides of the ball and on special teams," first-year head coach Aaron Best said of the week's priorities. "They've been solid up to this point in taking the controlled chaos we present to them during the week and taking it to their own level on Saturdays. We're looking for more of that, plus fine-tuning the fundamentals. We can't lose sight of the fundamental aspects of spring."
Saturday will be the last time until this fall that Best and his coaching staff will see the starting units together in a scrimmage. Next week's spring game – which will be televised live regionally by SWX – will be a true game, with the offensive and defensive squads splitting up into actual teams.
Best wants to see better tackling out of his defense in this week's scrimmage, and avoidance of sacks and less turnovers by the offense. "We don't tell them to not turn the ball over, we just tell them to make more intelligent decisions," he explained of eliminating miscues, which including four turnovers a week ago. "We try to spin that positively so they play confidently when they are between the lines."
In last week's 61-play scrimmage, offensive units generated 374 yards of total offense, but the defense also recorded nine plays with negative yards. Taking away long passing gains of 85, 41 and 30 yards – and a rush of 25 yards by Sam McPherson -- and the defense allowed just 193 yards in 57 plays for an average of only 3.4 per play.
"This is year three of the regime of our defense under Coach (Jeff) Schmedding and his assistants," said Best. "It's fun to watch them fly around and see plays where there are nine, 10 or 11 hats to the ball – that's unheard of. They've done a great job from the D-line all the way to the back end. I smile a lot and I love celebrating with the defense when they get a sack or force turnovers.
"I like to celebrate as much as them because I think it matters," continued Best, whose spent his previous 20 years at Eastern as a player or coach on the offensive side of the ball. "If we perform well on one side and even better on the other, it's going to make us a better team and helps us see what they'll bring to the table the next time around. That's what competitive teams do."
Eastern All-America quarterback Gage Gubrud led the offense on scoring drives of 71 and 64 yards to open the scrimmage, with touchdown passes of 24 and 22 yards to junior Nsimba Webster. He finished 12-of-19 for 194 yards. Highly-regarded, strong-armed redshirt freshman Eric Barriere made his debut by completing 4-of-9 passes for 105 yards.
"For Mr. Barriere, there is something great there, but he is young," said Best after last week's scrimmage. "I love youngness -- there are some things that he is going to do. Little old Vernon (Adams) a couple of years ago was in the same boat. They are all learning moments. If we can learn from these moments then we have a chance. And those are the certain situations -- whether it's a hand-off, whether it's a read or whether it's a throw -- we'll coach it up and coach (Bodie) Reeder will do a good job with that.
"It's going to take time -- Rome wasn't built in a day -- so let's not try and build it in a day," Best continued. "Let's slowly get this thing going. He is going to compete and he is a competitor. I thought Gage had a good day at the office. I thought there were some leadership things he provided, just hearing him from behind the quarterbacks from the perspective I had. I was impressed with Gage's demeanor on the field as well."
36th Annual Killin Dinner/Dance/Auction is April 29 at EWU as Part of "Eagle Week"
Tickets are now on sale for the 36th Annual Killin Dinner, Dance and Auction, which is the featured event of "Eagle Week" at Eastern Washington University. The event follows the annual Red-White Spring Football Game on April 29th at 2 p.m. at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash.
Tickets are $100 per individual and $700 for a table of eight. More information is available via: http://goeags.com/killin. A registration link on that page may be used to order tickets.
Killin takes place at the EWU Sports and Recreation Center. The event starts with a social hour and auction at 4:30 p.m., followed by the dinner (6:15 p.m.), program/presentations/live auction (7:15 p.m.) and dancing (8 p.m.).
Net proceeds benefit areas of greatest need within Eastern Athletics. The event is named in honor of Orland Killin, who, along with his wife Bernice, helped create the event. Killin was a man immensely dedicated to academics and the integrity of Eastern Washington University, serving as professor, faculty athletic representative and faculty president. He was an Eastern football letter winner in 1941-42.
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