Saturday, along with 14 other Idaho seniors, Eric Greenwood will play his final game as a Vandal. The 6-foot-6 wide receiver from Edmonds, Wash., was the first recruit to sign with Robb Akey after the coach took the job before the 2007 season, and he’s been a key part of the program since. We talked with Greenwood on Tuesday as he prepares for his finale against San Jose State.
Read on for the web-only Q&A.
Does this week feel much different than all the rest?
Eric Greenwood: It’s different, but I can’t put a word on it. It just feels weird thinking today was my last padded practice in the Kibbie Dome. I’m sure Thursday will be the weirdest given that’s my last practice.
It feels weird but it hasn’t really sunk in yet.
Has it set in that you won’t reach your goal of getting to another bowl? And how difficult was that after Saturday’s loss?
Greenwood: Especially the way it happened in the closing seconds. With 2 minutes, 1 second left, we went up by four. The defense had been killing all day. I was kind of in the bowl mindset thinking this is going to be awesome because it was such a great experience for Vandal Nation last year. To have the feeling taken from you is a bummer, to say the least. And of course I wish we could have gone out on bowl games consecutive years, but some games killed us. You look back at Colorado State, games like that where we made silly mistakes, kind of let games slip away. It’s hard. I wanted to do it for the seniors going out as a legacy but also for the coaching staff. They’ve busted their butts. And also the fans because that’s something we all get to enjoy — maybe raising another banner.
Although we felt we like we could (go to a bowl) — we had the skill — really we set up a good base and next year we will go to a bowl game. It won’t feel nearly as good (for the departing seniors), but just knowing that we helped contribute is also a great feeling.
You were the first guy to sign with Coach Akey? What do you remember about that experience? He said you came with your mom the week before your official visit.
Greenwood: It was a Thursday, and I was headed down to UNLV on Friday for my official visit. Coach Akey told me after their first staff meeting that coach Dan Finn had showed him my film, and he said, ‘Yeah, let’s offer him.’ So they offered me and said, ‘Hey, I know you’re going down there, but don’t commit until you’ve seen Idaho.’ I said, ‘OK, I won’t commit to UNLV.’ Because if they hadn’t called me that day, I probably would have committed to UNLV when I was down there.
I knew I wanted make a decision pretty quick, so the next weekend after UNLV I drove over here and I looked at coaches, I drove around Moscow. And probably 15 minutes after I left his office and went down Main St., drove all around, I called him back up and said, ‘Hey, Coach. I want to commit.’ That was it. I fell in love with his charisma and with Moscow in general, how every story has a ‘Go Vandals’ sign, how everybody in Moscow is a Vandals fan. I kind of knew right away, and it was a great decision. I’m happy as can be that I made that choice.
Switching gears to (quarterback) Nate Enderle. You think this year has been a little more difficult for him? How do you think he’s handled it?
Greenwood: He’s a champ. He’s the kind of guy that won’t place any blame on anything that’s going around him and just steps up and makes the best of every situation. Obviously, we’ve given up some more sacks and the receivers haven’t contributed as many yards and touchdowns, but I think as much of a bummer that is, it can also be a positive thing that scouts will see how he handled this situation, how he came out and really took a leadership role.
He’s the type of the guy that’s never yelling at anyone. We had a bunch of new receivers this year, and we put in a bunch of new stuff. He’s never getting on people, but always really helping out. He’s the type of the guy that’s going to make plays no matter what. We’re lucky to have him.
How important is it to go out on a win for you guys? That would be 14 wins in two years for the senior class.
Greenwood: Very important. It would be a great way to end my career here would be singing the fight song to fans. And obviously that’s what we’re expecting to do, and I can’t wait. Definitely important to end with win, not only for ourselves and our own egos, but also for the fans.