The line of scrimmage was friendly enough, but Aaron Best still brought his playbook to Monday’s introductory press conference.
Eastern Washington’s new football coach also scored a few verbal touchdowns in the process.
The highlight was a verbal play-action pass. Asked about his commitment to the Eagles’ passing game, Best said he was committed to “balance.”
That froze the defenders, er media, some of whom probably expected Best to extol the virtues of the wing-T.
Then Best went deep for the game-winner.
Recounting his 20 years with the program, Best pointed out that “I’ve taken a few notes about how to throw the football forward, so we’re not going to put our hands in the dirt and become a wishbone triple-option team.
“So, Eagle Nation, rest assured, we are still going to be explosive and fun to watch,” Best said.
Presumably a few folks exhaled, but they were drowned out by the laughter.
Facing all manner of questions about the future of Eastern Washington football, its new boss showed plenty of poise, deftness and execution in Monday’s get-together at the Reese Room.
On recruiting: “We’ve had no-decommits …. No news is good news, and this is a special class on and off the field. They have a tight bond.”
On filling five assistant coaching spots: “We have several names in mind, there are interviews to be had, including a few former Eagles. At this point it’s a matter of getting out in front of this awesome recruiting class, and then we’ll let the chips fall where they may.”
On re-introducing himself to the current players: “It hasn’t happened yet. But I saw a lot of them today at the 6 a.m. weight group. On Jan. 31 we’ll have our first official team meeting.”
On moving into the nearby head coach’s office: “It’s a quick left turn, blinkers are optional. It’s going to be a bigger office, but I’m going to be myself. I’ll take what he (Baldwin) brought to the table and put a different spin on it.”
On his transition from position coach: “I want to sit back and see things from a different perspective, have my heart and head in a different place, and have more input on defense and special teams.”
On the culture created by Baldwin: “The DNA that he cultivated, we’re going to have the same EKG – Eastern kinda guys. It takes a different kind of guy to belong here: I’ve seen it and I’ve live it. Some guys don’t belong in Cheney.”
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.