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Thu., Aug. 28, 2014, 11:58 a.m.

Ewu sports chat Aug. 28 (noon)

Read the transcript from Thursday's chat here:

Aug 28 2014, 11:57 AM

Jim: OK, let's talk Eastern football!

Aug 28 2014, 11:59 AM

Jim: I get to ask questions too: how many folks do you expect for Saturday's game against Montana Western? I'm guessing 6,500

Aug 28 2014, 11:59 AM

EWUmomma (guest): Hi Jim. How did we fare as far as injuries, etc last week?

Aug 28 2014, 12:00 PM

Jim: Hello, EWU momma

Aug 28 2014, 12:01 PM

Jim: Injuries weren't too severe last week, unless your name is Jordan Pulu; he's out for at least a week with a hyperextended elbow. Also, I wouldn't expect to see LB Ronnie Hamlin (foot) or WR Cooper Kupp (ankle) this week.

Aug 28 2014, 12:02 PM

Jim: Also, OL Jase Butorac is doubtful with an ankle injury.

Aug 28 2014, 12:03 PM

Jim: Another warmup question: based on what you say against Sam Houston State, are you more or less hopeful of a win at UW than a week ago?

Aug 28 2014, 12:03 PM

Jim: Based on what you SAW against SHSU, that is !

Aug 28 2014, 12:05 PM

Jim: As for me, I'm a tad less confident, based on some issues on defense. I'll be interested to see what the Huskies can do at Hawaii on Saturday.

Aug 28 2014, 12:06 PM

Guest30 (guest): 6,499 for this weekend. Less hopeful. Dow is due for a correction

Aug 28 2014, 12:06 PM

Jim: Well said!

Aug 28 2014, 12:06 PM

MarkM (guest): Hi, Jim. How serious is Kupp's ankle injury? We'll see him vs. Washington, right?

Aug 28 2014, 12:08 PM

Jim: I think so. The injury occurred during the walk-through on Friday. Cooper was jogging on Tuesday at practice, so I think they want to smart with this injury.

Aug 28 2014, 12:08 PM

EWUmomma (guest): Still think it could easily go either way, but I think now that the 1st game jitters have come and gone, we could pull the W on this one. And having film to prepare is always helpful - Didn't get that for SHSU.

Aug 28 2014, 12:08 PM

Jim: That's a good point - although they won't have any UW film to work with until Sunday.

Aug 28 2014, 12:08 PM

Guest30 (guest): Hmmmm, no announced announcement. Less hopeful. Hear anything Jim?

Aug 28 2014, 12:10 PM

Jim: Do THAT many people really go away for the Labor Day weekend? And remember: this is the last home game for FIVE WEEKS. I think people are aware of that.

Aug 28 2014, 12:10 PM

MarkM (guest): Seems like we gave SHSU QB a LOT of time in the pocket, and we were lucky he overthrew his receivers a number of times. What was the talk about our defense this week? Good that some of our younger guys got one under their belt and learned some things,but yikes.

Aug 28 2014, 12:11 PM

Jim: That's one of my concerns: pass rush against a solid O-line, and UW's line is very good, elite. The plus for Eastern is that UW is breaking in a new QB and new RB.

Aug 28 2014, 12:11 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): Worried about coverage mistakes. Maybe first game mental errors. Hope that gets solved. Many wide open SHSU receivers last week.

Aug 28 2014, 12:12 PM

Jim: It wasn't pretty, they were wide-open and EWU wasn't getting pressure on the QB - a lethal combination. Expect some growing pains with this group, but the schedule is forgiving.

Aug 28 2014, 12:12 PM

Jim: Apart from UW and a test in Bozeman

Aug 28 2014, 12:13 PM

Jim: ooops ... apart from those games, there's an easy stretch in late Sept. and most of October.

Aug 28 2014, 12:13 PM

Guest17 (guest): Twitter says less then 500 tickets left for the Montana Western Game. I AM

a little more concerned for the UW game. I saw a lot of open receivers running around that Johnson just couldnt hit. I think whoever it is that starts for UW will be able to make those throws.

Aug 28 2014, 12:14 PM

Jim: That's true, but how many fans will be in attendance? I'm sticking with 6,500 (but trending upward as I write this!)

Aug 28 2014, 12:14 PM

MarkM (guest): If we get into a shootout with Washington, like OSU, I'm hopeful. If they score and we don't respond, I'm less hopeful. If we can put up a couple scores, I think VA will respond to being in stage and smack em in the mouth.

Aug 28 2014, 12:14 PM

Jim: That's the whole idea, but the UW front seven (an elite group) will have a lot to say about that.

Aug 28 2014, 12:15 PM

Jim: So what about Montana Western. Did you know that NAIA Southern Oregon took Sac State to overtime last year? Anybody concerned?

Aug 28 2014, 12:16 PM

EWUmomma (guest): So, do we think the offense will need to put up big points like they did last year? 40+ to allow for continued growing pains with the defense?

Aug 28 2014, 12:17 PM

Jim: Not quite as much as OSU, which scored a TD on every second-half possession last year. I do think that EWU needs to get into the high 30s, at least, to have a chance.

Aug 28 2014, 12:17 PM

MarkM (guest): Every year people talk about how good the UW O line is supposed to be, and every year their QB is running for their life. Maybe this year will be different, but call me skeptical. They were VERY lucky they had Sankey last year, cuz Price was in trouble on almost every play, and they were a very highly touted line coming into the season.

Aug 28 2014, 12:19 PM

Jim: Perhaps ... I'm more concerned about the Eagles facing a mobile QB like Miles, if he's the guy. Mobile QBs really hurt Eastern last year, especially in the playoffs.

Aug 28 2014, 12:19 PM

MarkM (guest): Speaking of O lines, I was impressed with the protection VA got, especially for a first game

Aug 28 2014, 12:19 PM

Jim: Yes, everyone felt that the O-line had a great outing. Jake Rodgers did tell me at practice that the downfield blocking could have been better.

Aug 28 2014, 12:20 PM

Shane (guest): I think there will be close to 8,000 in attendance. Maybe I'm just being hopeful, but if people want the Gateway Project to become a reality I think they (the fans) have to show we can fill up our current stadium on a weekly basis. No use in doubling the capacity otherwise.

Aug 28 2014, 12:21 PM

Jim: Well said, Shane. This could be a tipping-point moment for the Gateway Project, and strong attendance could help (although a big-bucks donor would help even more!)

Aug 28 2014, 12:21 PM

TCFan (guest): Labor day, student attendance will be smaller, quality of opponent and night game. Out of towners may opt out due to late late drive(course this shouldn't be a 4 hr game)and not wanting to spring for a motel. Perhaps 500 left but real attendance will be down.

Aug 28 2014, 12:22 PM

Jim: This better not be a 4-hour game, or I'm going to have some serious deadline stress!

Aug 28 2014, 12:22 PM

MarkM (guest): When is Evan Day supposed to be back? How is his rehab going?

Aug 28 2014, 12:23 PM

Jim: It's a tough break for Evan, who had an ACL injury in spring ball and isn't expected back until late October.

Aug 28 2014, 12:23 PM

MarkM (guest): How did individual corners grade out vs SHSU? What is the talk with those kids?

Aug 28 2014, 12:24 PM

Jim: Coaches don't share grades, but in speaking with the players, they felt they did fine. On the flip side, they got beat too often in coverage. Growing pains, as I said earlier.

Aug 28 2014, 12:25 PM

Jim: Also, I got the feeling that nine of the corners distanced themselves from the others, so you can expect four or five to see significant action.

Aug 28 2014, 12:25 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): What offense does Montana Western run?

Aug 28 2014, 12:26 PM

Jim: Historically have been a smash-mouth running team, with two backs, but I understand that their new offensive coordinator has them running a pro set.

Aug 28 2014, 12:26 PM

MarkM (guest): It seems like last year we also had trouble getting pressure on the QB early in the season, and then things improved significantly after the first few games. I would imagine that will be a big focus

Aug 28 2014, 12:28 PM

Jim: It always is; the Eagles have to do a better job in the pass rush than last year at Oregon State. Mannion had all day.

Aug 28 2014, 12:28 PM

MarkM (guest): gotta run. thanks jim. 50-17 ewu, with lots of playing time for all. hopefully no injuries. go Eagles!!

Aug 28 2014, 12:28 PM

Jim: You too, Mark. I expect a lot of playing time for the 2s and 3s, but you never know.

Aug 28 2014, 12:28 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): I would rather have our secondary and younger LBs play a team this week that puts the ball in the air a bunch.

Aug 28 2014, 12:29 PM

Jim: Agreed; the corners need to see the ball in the air.

Aug 28 2014, 12:29 PM

Jim: So who is going to Seattle next week?

Aug 28 2014, 12:31 PM

Jim: If you're not, this is where I put in my shameless plug to follow me on Twitter (@srjimallen), because I will send updates via Twitter throughout all road games. I'm also closing in on 500 followers, which would really boost my self-esteem!

Aug 28 2014, 12:33 PM

Jim: I have to admit, the new Husky Stadium is quite a sight.

Aug 28 2014, 12:33 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): My wife and I are going. I will begin following you on twitter.

Aug 28 2014, 12:34 PM

Jim: Bless you!

Aug 28 2014, 12:35 PM

Jim: Impromptu poll question: how many regular-season games(out of 12) will the Eagles win this year?

Aug 28 2014, 12:36 PM

Shane (guest): A lot of the pre-season coverage mentioned that, due to his versatility and our depth at Tackle, Jake Rodgers would probably be starting at right guard with Curtis starting at right tackle. What changed so that Gomez ended up starting at guard with Rodgers back at tackle? Was Gomez just a better option at guard than Curtis was at tackle?

Aug 28 2014, 12:37 PM

Jim: Exactly. Also, Rodgers feels more comfortable at tackle - he's told me that a couple of times. No matter what, this is one of the best units on the team, the foundation of what will be an outstanding offense.

Aug 28 2014, 12:37 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): Eleven

Aug 28 2014, 12:39 PM

Jim: That's what I'm thinking, with UW being the loss. It's AM

azing to ponder that Eastern is 15-1 in Big Sky play over the last two years.

Aug 28 2014, 12:39 PM

TCFan (guest): Score prediction...half and final please.

Aug 28 2014, 12:39 PM

Jim: In a game like this, the halftime score is more relevant. I say 34-7.

Aug 28 2014, 12:40 PM

Jim: The final score: 55-17, which really is a complete crapshoot, dependent on who long the 1s and 2s stay in - for both teams.

Aug 28 2014, 12:42 PM

Jim: On the other hand, Montana Western could come in, pick up a few first downs on the ground, play mistake-free ball and force EWU to go the long field (not that it was a problem vs. SHSU!). Would anyone be upset if the halftime score was only 21-10?

Aug 28 2014, 12:42 PM

TCFan (guest): Do you think they will keep VA in to pad his stats on his Payton march if it's out of hand early. I'm sure they would like to get some pt for the other QB's.

Aug 28 2014, 12:43 PM

Jim: They will not pad his stats; I expect to see Jordan West before halftime.

Aug 28 2014, 12:43 PM

Shane (guest): Did you see any pro scouts at the Sam Houston St. game?

Aug 28 2014, 12:44 PM

Jim: No, but they could have been there anyway. Who do you see as a pro prospect for next year? Hamlin? McDonald?

Aug 28 2014, 12:44 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): Yes, I would not be very happy with a 21-10 halftime score.

Aug 28 2014, 12:44 PM

Jim: I could have guessed that, Golden Eagle!

Aug 28 2014, 12:45 PM

Jim: Next question: what Big Sky game scares you the most? For me, it's @NAU on Oct. 25. And there's always Montana.

Aug 28 2014, 12:48 PM

Jim: By the way, the Western Montana O-line averages 280 pounds, so they're not exactly lightweights, and they have a couple of bruisers at RB, if size is any indication.

Aug 28 2014, 12:48 PM

Shane (guest): Potentially Hamlin if he can stay relatively healthy. McDonald would be one of the other main ones for me. He has "big time" experience from UCLA and his brother was a mid-round pick recently. Also, Rodgers and Forte as possibilities of "getting a look." Don't think any will be drafted, but options as UDFA or CFL guys.

Aug 28 2014, 12:49 PM

Jim: I agree completely. I would like to see Forte add a few more pounds and show that he can run between the tackles.

Aug 28 2014, 12:49 PM

GoldenEagle (guest): If NAU's QB continues to develop, that game scares me the most.

Aug 28 2014, 12:49 PM

Jim: I will be following that very closely as we get further into the season.

Aug 28 2014, 12:49 PM

TCFan (guest): In case the stadium manager reads this I'd like to ask her/him why they don't have someone walking the stadium selling drink/food. Source of revenue and the lines for concessions(and bathrooms)are ridiculous!!!!!!!!! Thanks for letting me vent Jim.

Aug 28 2014, 12:51 PM

Jim: By all means, vent away. For me, it's that eyesore of a concession/bathroom building at the south end. That thing has to go if the Eagles have money for even the smallest renovation.

Aug 28 2014, 12:51 PM

Guest189 (guest): MSU concerns me the most.

Aug 28 2014, 12:51 PM

Jim: Why is that?

Aug 28 2014, 12:52 PM

Jim: Remember, they have a new QB and EWU will have two weeks (after UW) to prepare for the Bobcats.

Aug 28 2014, 12:52 PM

Shane (guest): I don't know how many guys they return off the top of my head but Southern Utah may be a tough game after sneaking into the playoffs last year.

Aug 28 2014, 12:53 PM

Jim: The T-Birds always play tough defense, but their top player is off on a Mormon mission. Ed Lamb runs a quality program, and by the way, is the only Big Sky coach to beat the Eagles in the last two years.

Aug 28 2014, 12:54 PM

Guest189 (guest): MSU looks loaded to me...in Bozeman...hate our guts...winner may have inside track to BSC trophy.

Aug 28 2014, 12:55 PM

Jim: I thought they hated UM's guts? Why are they so hateful? Seriously, they have a lot of guys back apart from QB. By the way, this a non-conference game this year and next.

Aug 28 2014, 12:56 PM

Jim: But every game is important if you're chasing a high seed in the playoffs.

Aug 28 2014, 12:58 PM

Jim: Thanks, everyone, and here's to seeing at least 6,501 of you on Saturday!




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Jim Allen
Jim Allen joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a reporter for the Sports Desk covering Eastern Washington University football and men's basketball, Gonzaga Universtiy women's basketball and college and high school soccer.

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