Jim: Hello, Eastern Washington sports fans - let's chat!
Guest9404 (guest): Whew!!
Jim: That's right - now I don't have to write stories about who would have succeeded Baldwn (it's all about me, you know).
EdubU10 (guest): Whew indeed!
Guest5941 (guest): Selfishly relieved Beau isn't going to Nevada...I can't believe they wouldn't offer him the job.
David C. Edwards: Dodged a bullet, but sadly it just says that you need to be a assistant at the FBS level to probably nail down one of those jobs.
Jim: Exactly right, David C. , and that's probably the major reason Beau didn't get the job. Personally, I thought he was the best candidate.
KHB_GoEags: So thankful we get him, for at least the rest of the season and recruiting!
EdubU10 (guest): Agreed KHB
Jim: Looking at the fan forums, I sense a lot of mixed feelings: relief at keeping Baldwin yet feeling bad for him at the same time.Anyone feel that way?
Jim: I see some non-Baldwin questions in the queue, and we'll get to those later. Thanks for your patience.
David C. Edwards: You have been trolling haven't you Jim?
Jim: I think of it as "observing."
EdubU10 (guest): And now it's one less thing for the players and coaches to think about during this playoff run
Jim: Players were very focused at Tuesday's practice.
KHB_GoEags: He won't be here forever, but I think this past week has opened the door for other FBS offers once their season is done after their bowl games....
Jim: What offers? Almost all FBS head-coaching positions have been filled.
Guest9404 (guest): Would love to know who you think would or world have succeeded him.... another day. Let’s talk about smashing spiders
Jim: My short list was, in order, OL coach Aaron Best, OC Troy Taylor, UW co-DC Jimmy Lake, DC Jeff Schmedding, Boise OC Zak Hill
EdubU10 (guest): I know EWU is beyond fortunate to still have Baldwin but I do know he'll eventually get snagged. I just want it to be the best situation for him to succeed.
KHB_GoEags: I'm assuming some of those schools will have some moving and shaking after their seasons, seems to happen. I just feel like this has opened the door for him more than it ever has been before. I never want him to leave, we've been very lucky, but this experience has made me realize his time is coming soon.
Jim: Will he, though? David C.'s point about FBS teams promoting FBS coordinators is well taken. Very few FCS coaches go straight to FBS coach. Former NDSU coach Craig Bohl had a decent second season at Wyoming, however.
Guest2960 (guest): I bet Beau's wife is happy to stay, I know she enjoys the area and her folks and sister are in Spokane.
Jim: Honestly, I thought Nevada was the perfect move for Baldwin, and so did most of the Nevada fans - they're not happy.
Guest9404 (guest): I would add Gregorak and Bobby Hauk. I'm not kidding
KHB_GoEags: Jim, I've read your tweets and articles, and you say the team has been very focused, but how can this not create a major distraction?
Jim: If you read my story from Wednesday, Baldwin was very up-front with the players, then told them he would stay all the way through the season.
Guest9404 (guest): Remember some of team went through this with the OR State thing. I'm sure Beau learned from that on how to handle better.
KHB_GoEags: You don't think that was fluff? I mean if I'm some of the younger players and my coach who recruited me, I would feel uneasy about a new coach coming in. Maybe I've over analyzing this, but the OSU thing was a huge distraction, maybe they learned.
Jim: Every incoming freshman knows that college staffs can change. It's part of the deal.
Steven Christopher: A possible coaching change is obviously a major distraction to fans on this blog, but maybe not to the players.
Jim: Moving on ...
Steven Christopher: Does anyone know if the major drop-off in attendance at last week's playoff game was due to students having to buy tickets?
Jim: The ticket sales drop is common for the postseason, as people have made plans. Also, it's dang cold out there. Which leads us to the next question ...
Guest2960 (guest): So the big question, is it going to snow up there in Cheney? It’s a cool 70 here in Phoenix this week. Curious how this will affect the game plan?
Jim: I just checked the forecast, which calls for a high of 34 and snow. In fact I just revved up the snowblower half an hour ago. (I live on the South Hill.)
Guest4263 (guest): This team is good enough to win a title and the players know it. They could lose anytime, but the closer you get in this situation the more focused you get. They won't be distracted at this point.
EdubU10 (guest): Bring on the snow!
Jim: Actually, by starting by snowblower, I can almost guarantee that it WON'T snow!
clawman: 52 degrees in Richmond today, when will the Spiders arrive in Spokane?
Jim: I spoke with their coach on Monday, and he said they would arrive late Thursday night. Low of 26 tonight in Richmond, so it won't be that bad.
Casey (guest): Hello!!! How great was that performance last Saturday? Our defense was spectacular and I was extremely impressed with Schmedding’s play-calling in the second half.
Jim: Yes, this defense keeps getting better. This was my biggest question before the season, when I picked them to finish third in the Big Sky. Shows you what I know. Schmedding has done a great job. even with all the injuries at LB.
Casey (guest): I think they did offer him the job and he declined.That job isn't very attractive. I read a great article earlier this week with all the pros and cons of the job. It’s a bottom level job in that conference. He wisely chose not to go. That staff at ASU is getting sacked in a year or two so no reason for that guy to stay there.
Casey (guest): Just a heads up Jim. When you leave our questions in the queu, we can no longer make any comments. That's why my coach comment is late.
Jim: Wow - I didn't know that!
David C. Edwards: Call it what you will...potato, tomato....I know people are talking about the excessive travel that Richmond has to do, but wasn't that the case a few years back when the Redbirds?
Jim: Actually ISU was the 5 seed and EWU the 4, which meant that both teams hosted second-round games before ISU came to Cheney. However, the previous year, in 2013, it was 7 seed Towson that won at No. 2 Eastern Illinois and then won at No. 3 EWU. (Sorry to bring up that bad memory, guys!)
clawman: Wonder if there will be any RAID commercials on the scoreboard?? Haha
Guest9404 (guest): That's funny clawman. NCAA would squash it (no pun intended)
Guest9404 (guest): By the way, Spiders coach in the hunt for another job. So they are going through the same thing
Jim: The Richmond coach is rumored to have the Delaware job locked up, and they are waiting for him to finish the season.
Guest4263 (guest): I was super impressed with Gubrud. His pocket presence was great and he made great decisions on when to run and when to be patient. I thought he put the team on his back when they were down 14-0 and had 95 yards to go
Jim: After the game, Baldwin and Gubrud said Cent Ark came out in an unexpected coverage, and it took time to adjust,
Casey (guest): Solid points, 4263. I thought he did a great job of taking the yards they gave us. They sat in that cover 3 and wanted to keep everything in front. No problem...They could NOT stop the out.
Guest5941 (guest): I was surprised to see Gubrud go out of the game and then come back and basically have (what appeared to be) designed run plans
DaydreamJohnny (guest): How is the health of the linebackers going into this game?
clawman: Do you have info on injuries? Will we get some guys back?
Jim: LB coach Josh Fetter says they're thin this week. Zamora is questionable again.
Jim: Cooper Kupp also is questionable.
KHB_GoEags: Is there a team in Big Sky that is similar to Richmond?
Jim: Baldwin was asked that question, and said no.
Casey (guest): Yes...for goodness sake can we have him slide feet first and avoid getting clobbered?
Jim: I think he'd doing a better job of sliding lately.
Guest9404 (guest): I'm concerned about LB's, Might have to use Safety's. Calling Bo Byus
Jim: Byus is an O lineman, formerly a tight end - which means he's versatile - what the heck, try him at LB!
Casey (guest): Better does not equal good though. Some of his head first dives are just inviting a shot
Guest4263 (guest): The NCAA changed the slide rule. They mark you back 4 yards now. Gubrud got hosed earlier in the year sliding for first downs so he won't slide feet first unless he has gone a long way already. It's all head first and I agree with him
Guest5941 (guest): Is it safe to say we've used up all our chances for fake field goals?
Casey (guest): Solid point about the sliding...but we need the QB more than the 4 yds.
Jim: You'd think so, but Baldwin and Taylor have an innate sense of timing those plays when they're least expected.
GoEags (guest): And reverse passes!
Casey (guest): 5941 - I don't think so. Everyone knew the fake was coming last week both before and after the timeout and yet we still did it.
Jim: You're right on that one, Casey
Casey (guest): It was a terrible decision but the TE made one hell of a play.
Jim: David C, good point about lots of FCS coaches going to FBS, but these are position coaches and the occasional coordinator.
David C. Edwards: I saw on the Nevada writers twitter feed that over 200 FBS jobs have opened and closed and some number in the teens of coaches making the jump from the FCS for hires
EdubU10 (guest): I still can’t believe that defender whiffed on bringing Wimberly down, it’s like he gave up on the tackle
Casey (guest): It crushed their spirit too. Knowing they were ready and just didn't make the play.
Steven Christopher: Uh, Larry Weir and Paul Sorenson sure didn't after the timeout!
Guest4263 (guest): I think the defender made one hell of a bad play. He tossed him thinking he would go down. It was really bad
Guest9404 (guest): It would be interesting to know if Taylor has Carte Blanche to call those plays.
Jim: Yes, I'm sure that player got a royal chewing out from the CA coaches!
Guest4263 (guest): Baldwin calls all special teams plays
Casey (guest): Have we faced a mobile QB this year where we tried to spy him? That may be critical this week because our pursuit (especially Ekubam) has been fantastic! If we overrun this guy he could hurt us outside the pocket because the safeties will be protecting the deep ball.
EdubU10 (guest): PSU's qb was pretty mobile
Casey (guest): True but he was more a runner that could throw instead of a thrower that can run. I guess we face Gage every week in practice.
Jim: No spying that I've seen. This guy seems to have all the tools - 15-for-22 for 289y at North Dakota last week. He didn't run that much, though.
Guest4263 (guest): I like our corners a lot. Zach Bruce is special and 13 is a good cover safety. I think we have done and will do a good job on the deep ball. I like the matchup
Jim: 13 would be Mitch Fettig, and I agree. Baldwin said Richmond goes deep "more than any team we've seen this year."
Casey (guest): I really think all the work we have put in at DB will pay off this weekend. They are going to look to strike deep balls and our ability to cover with 4 different guys and keep safeties free will pay off. We should be able to force at least 2 picks
Guest1405 (guest): Jim, just wanted to say that you do one heck of a job covering our Eagles. Thank you.
Jim: Thanks, I appreciate that. It's a fun job!
Guest5941 (guest): Great articles on the progress (or lack thereof) on stadium upgrades. Has there been any response from the EWU admin regarding them?
Jim: Thanks. My hope was to start a conversation and prod the administration. No response that I've heard.
Guest9404 (guest): Webster ready yet?
srchat: WR Nsimba Webster played last week and caught a pass.
Guest4263 (guest): There is good reason for concern at LB though. If Zamora is out and 35 (can't remember his name) can't play (he went out hurt last week) a mobile QB could be a problem.
Jim: 35 is Kacmarcik, and he will play
Guest4263 (guest): Good news on Kacmarcik. He is good.
Guest6024 (guest): Do we get the two-page coverage on Sunday that WSU gets and Gonzaga got today?
Jim: I doubt it, but that's above my pay grade. We've amped up our GU hoops coverage, which of course pushes other schools down a peg.
Steven Christopher: I agree about Jim’s great writing. But, despite the nice message the SR sports editor sent me when I complained about Eagle football coverage during the bye week, I have to say I've been a little distressed by this week's emphasis on non-playoff items, i.e., stadium and Baldwin.
Jim: Sorry, Steve, but the Baldwin story trumped everything this week. And the stadium was a project I'd been working on for awhile. We had a lengthy story today on Richmond, etc. More to come Friday and Saturday.
Casey (guest): I would be interested to see if Richmond rolls the QB to avoid Samson. In the second half last week they rolled that QB out almost every play because they couldn't block Samson
Jim: I'll be shocked if Samson doesn't get a shot in the NFL.
EdubU10 (guest): Any word on LB Calhoun?
Jim: Also questionable.
Steven Christopher: Why, exactly amp up Gonzaga basketball coverage, even for meaningless games against bad opponents, to equal WSU Football?
David C. Edwards: BECAUSE IT IS WSU AND GU......they sell in Spokane...sadly we don't as much
Jim: Again, that's not my call. We are trying to build an internet presence with GU, which is a big deal for many in this town. In fact, to further rile you up, I'm scheduled to cover GU women vs. WSU tonight instead of EWU men vs. Great Falls.
Guest6024 (guest): They are trying to sell newspapers, and they think that GU sell more paper than EWU
Jim: That's also true. "Butts in the seats," as they say.
David C. Edwards: That is why I LOVED beating them this year!
Steven Christopher: Yeah, well that's a self fulfilling prophecy,isn't it?
David C. Edwards: Great Falls??? I would go to the GU game too.
Guest4263 (guest): The best thing about the WSU game was that EWU was the better team. They had no answers for our offense.
Guest5941 (guest): The poll to the left of this chat asked if this was Gonzaga's best team ever. When I answered "Don't Care" was the leading answer at 42 percent...
Jim: Personally, I'm a football guy.
KHB_GoEags: I understand where Steven and Jim are both coming from. As a EWU fan, alum and advocate, the (lack of)coverage has always fired me up. I feel like we constantly have to walk around proving ourselves, especially this time of year,which is funny-- our trophy case has quite the collection!
Jim: I push for more coverage of my beats. But editors are paid to balance coverage and play, with an emphasis on teams that draw more people and community attention.
Guest5941 (guest): EWU coverage has improved leaps and bounds from even just a couple years ago. We have more coverage than Idaho even.
Jim: As it should be.
Steven Christopher: Well, I suppose our women will at least get great, albeit indirect, coverage when they play Gonzaga.
Jim: Funny you should mention that - I'll be there!
KHB_GoEags: I know you are, Jim. I'm sorry if that came off as a dig at you, not the intention. Our coverage has actually come a long way, but want more.
Steven Christopher: To be clear, I feel the coverage of Eagle sports has improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. But I don't feel our current football playoff run has received appropriate emphadis. What would Gonzaga basketball be getting if it was in the Elite Eight?!
Jim: You should address concerns to sports editor Joe Palmquist and/or editor-in-chief Rob Curley.
Jim: Eight minutes left....
Casey (guest): The lack of a running game last week was concerning as well. We couldn't seem to move the ball at all. 74 yds on the ground and 68 of that was gage. No bueno
Jim: That was the best run defense EWU has faced all year. The run game will pick up this week.
Guest9404 (guest): Which young LB should we be keeping an eye out for (besides Kupp )
Jim: Katzenberger, who played tons last week.
EdubU10 (guest): Pending a win saturday, who would you rather face in the semis: Wofford or Youngstown St?
Jim: Wofford for sure. they run a lot, not too versatile... good defense, though.
clawman: Do they cover the field before the game with snow in the forecast?
Jim: not sure
DaydreamJohnny (guest): What's your gut feeling on Cooper Kupp? I think he could have played in the second half, but they held him back since we had the game in control in the second half. Do you feel like we will be seeing number 10 on Saturday?
Jim: He will play. in fact he and Zamora were in full pads on Tuesday.
Casey (guest): I could rant all day about GU and WSU...but lets focus on the Eags for another 10 min. What concerns us about Saturday? I've mentioned the running game...how about some of you?
Jim: Gubrud's ability to handle adverse weather, but mainlu containing their QB
Guest1405 (guest): Kudos to whoever thought of the donate-a-ticket deal for this game. I have been to 6 or 7 games this year and simply cannot drive over from Olympia this weekend.Instead, I was able to buy two tickets and put someone else's butt the seats my fiance and I were not able to fill.
Guest9404 (guest): I think the weather may be a bigger factor in this game than we think. I hope our RB are ready to carry the load
clawman: Interesting that FBS schools consider 6 wins and a bowl game a success. That is only 1 extra game whereas FCS playoffs can get as many as 4 extra games
Guest5941 (guest): A rematch from 1997's run against YSU would be sweet
EdubU10 (guest): Starting slow, need to come out on fire and not let red zone trips go for no points
GoEags (guest): Crazy how our side of the bracket has played out.Last seed remaining!
Guest4263 (guest): I really want to see a rematch of EWU vs.NDSU in Frisco. That was an epic game and I want to see round 2
Jim: Yes, EWU is set up pretty well at this point.
KHB_GoEags: YES 4263!! Personally feel like the Committee set it up that way.
Guest281 (guest): not trying to get ahead of myself, but what's the protocol for determining who plays on Friday or Saturday in the semifinals?
Jim: Mostly determined by time zone, so it's likely that the westernmost host (EWU) would play Saturday.
clawman: Why can't we run the ball? Oline can't block? Backs lack of ability to run? Poor run plays?
Steven Christopher: I thought it was, their s funny that the cen running game, as expected tral Arkansas coach accident so bewildered about what happened last wee. Yes their defense stuffed our running game, as expected. So we threw 60+ times and rolled up ocean 500 passing yards. Where's the mystery?
Jim: Running has been setting up the pass. But it needs to be better than last week. The young RBs are getting better every week.
Guest1405 (guest): Also kudos to the department that has been putting on the yellow short-bus shuttle service on gameday.
GoEags (guest): Containing the QB and stopping receivers from getting deep biggest concerns. It only feels right for a NDSU rematch!
KHB_GoEags: We've had only 1 game in the past 6 years on Friday, haven't we?
Jim: That was Villanova in 2010, I believe (I didn't cover the team until 2012).
GoEags (guest): Villanova semis
Guest5941 (guest): the Villanova game in 2010 was on Friday I believe
clawman: Wyoming was a passing team until Bohl got there.Now they are VERY successful and a running team. Is it just a matter of priorities?
Casey (guest): I would love to see us start fast on offense. We know we are going to start slow somewhere but the offense can't usually afford to start slow. Defense has shown an ability to come around.
Guest9404 (guest): 1 and 0 folks. That all that matters!!!!!
Guest4263 (guest): I worry that we ask Gage to carry so much of the load. He had a back injury and couldn't run for a few games and it hurt our offense. Bad weather makes it hard too.
Casey (guest): I still don't think anyone beats us but ourselves.Also have to admit...their kicker concerns me because he is seemingly automatic. Our D has been able to stall drives but a good kicker can keep hitting those 3s instead of coming away with nothing. Plus our kicking game is horrific! Won't be too shocked if NDSU loses this week. That's no gimme at home
EdubU10 (guest): Yeah, villanova in the semis, the crowd at that game was electric
Jim: Let's extend for a few minutes and get some score predictions. I say EWU wins 38-27
GoEags (guest): We finish strong AND start fast on Saturday. 42-24
EdubU10 (guest): 42-24 Eags
Guest9404 (guest): 38-21
David C. Edwards: OT just like the basketball team!
Jim: No, anything but that!
Casey (guest): I think our defense is crucial again and we limit them to 20 (2 FGs) while putting up 42. 42-20
KHB_GoEags: 44-25 EWU
Jim: Gee, KHB, I think that's your closest margin all year!
Guest4263 (guest): If bad weather 31-21. If just cold 45-21
Casey (guest): Nice to hear from some new folks in here. Hope to see them again next week as we prepare for the semis. Saturday is going to be great!!!
GoEags (guest): OT wins in bad weather in the quarters have worked for us in the past!
David C. Edwards: Will there be one either way?
Jim: Only if EWU advances
KHB_GoEags: Bahahahaha, I have faith.
Casey (guest): Thanks Jim and all of you. Its a great time to be an Eagle!
Guest9404 (guest): Jim your the best. By the way great article about Roos. Need to start poking the Administration. When you see Mary let her know we know she is the roadblock. Go Eags
Casey (guest): WHEN Jim....not if.
Jim: Nice one, Casey!
KHB_GoEags: Yes, casey!!!
GoEags (guest): Thanks as always for the chat and eags coverage!
David C. Edwards: Roadblock...best comment of the chat
Jim: Thanks, everyone - I have this feeling we'll be doing this again next week.