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EWU sports live chat transcript (Oct. 20)

Jim: Hello, everyone - let's talk Eastern football!

Jim: It's been two weeks - did you miss me?

KHB_GoEags: Ha ha ha yes!!Can't wait for Saturday!

Jim: Warmup question: Did you watch any football during the bye week?

Guest8461 (guest): I think bye week came @ good time. Any updates on who is not ready for second half?

Jim: It appears that a lot of bumps and bruises healed last week. I know that some O-linemen are recovering, although the depth chart is the same as for Northern Colorado.

Guest8461 (guest): Watched the other team on E.Side of State.Not sure where the town is that they are in!

GoEags (guest): Welcome back! Watched the Cougs, and the beating Weber put on the Bobcats! Ouch.

Jim: By the way, here's my story from Tuesday on the EWU O-line:http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2016/oct/18/ewu-offensive-line-overachieves/

GoEags (guest): Good article on the line!

Jim: Thanks

Jim: They seem to be doing much better, which segues into our next reader questions (asked with tongue firmly planted in cheek)...

Guest2785 (guest): If we beat WSU and they beat Stanford and Stanford beat Notre Dame should we be ranked in the top 25?

Jim: Why not? Except that Stanford and ND that good this year. Now if WSU beats UW ....

KHB_GoEags: Yes, exactly... not rooting for them, but keep those wins coming, makes that win so much better!!

Jim: The other plus to that tough preseason schedule is that 7-4 guarantees a postseason spot.

Guest1850 (guest): Can't believe I'm saying this, but I'm rooting hard for the Cougs. The more they win the better EWU's win looks...

Guest1850 (guest): What's the weather outlook for this weekend? Not just this year but it seems like the weather can have a serious impact on Beau's offense... perhaps it can be a team’s best defense?

Jim: Bozeman on Saturday: high of 58 with winds of 13 mph. That could be a problem, but I think Gubrud did fine in so-so conditions vs. Davis and UNC.

GoEags (guest): Looks like it’s supposed to be nice in Bozeman this weekend.

Jim: Back to the O-line ....

Guest8461 (guest): So is Jones out for rest of year. Another year of eligibility?

Jim: It doesn't look good. Jones (knee injury suffered vs. Northern Iowa) is at the bottom of the depth chart at center. Stay tuned...

Guest2785 (guest): people watch # 65 Tristen Taylor, left tackle, he is the real deal and maybe in the NFL before he gets to his senior year

Jim: Yes, he's the real deal. Even O-line coach Aaron Best (who doesn't hand out compliments like candy) says Taylor has been "very solid" so far.

Guest8461 (guest): Aaron Best has done the best (no pun intended) coaching job this year. This offensive line is playing way above their age.

Jim: Here's a feature on Best I wrote prior to the 2015 season. Above all, he's a teacher:http://www.spokesman.com/stories/2015/sep/03/nothing-but-the-best/

Guest2785 (guest): If you were covering Eags in 2010 this year’s team reminds me of the ND Bison when they came down to play us. They were so young and good and just got so much better the following years.

Jim: I started covering EWU in 2012, but yes, the Bison built that group into champions a year later.

GoEags88: How is MSU's fan base handling this 0-4 league start? The Bobcats stadium is usually loud...should our team expect the usual raucous atmosphere?

Jim: Not sure, but I'll know more when I get to Bozeman on Friday night. Game-day atmosphere always has been good, but 0-4 in the Big Sky will put a damper on things.

Guest1850 (guest): How's the team been looking at practice? Any concern about coming out flatter than normal in the first half due to the week off?

Jim: Actually, the team seemed energized by the bye week. Several players told me they felt refreshed. Practice on Tuesday seemed more high-energy than usual - and that's saying something.

KHB_GoEags: I think this bye came at a perfect time. They needed some down time before the rest of the tough path we have. I'm happy top hear your experiences at practice!

Guest2785 (guest): Are you going to MSU?

Jim: Yes, I am going to Bozeman.

Guest1850 (guest): I live too far out to receive SR in print, but online presence has only increased leaps and bounds over the last few years...

Jim: We are trying our best. In another self-serving gesture, here's the link to our EWU football coverage: http://www.spokesman.com/eagles/ Tell your friends.

Jim: FYI, some of my stories never see print, or they're edited down for print.

Guest2785 (guest): We will get a lot more coverage in Dec. when we play 2 or 3 more games.

Jim: Count on it.

Jim: That's always open for discussion: Do we run enough EWU football stories? If not, what would you want to see? And what other sports do you want less of?

Guest2785 (guest): I want to know more on the defensive front group? Any comments from coaches?

Jim: Yes, the MSU coach singled them out when I spoke with him earlier this week. Says they're better fundamentally and putting more pressure on QBs with just a four-man rush.

Guest8461 (guest): Coach Ena has been a great addition. We are very fortunate that EWU is a place where not only players but coaches want to be at.

Guest8461 (guest): Could some of the stories that never see print be made available to us who appreciate everything you do?

Jim: Sure, just go to the link above (assuming you subscribe). Also, I link to all my stories from Twitter - my handle is @srjimallen

Guest1850 (guest): Is it possible that Gubrud might go down as the best QB in history? His first half has been nothing short of amazing. Credit to the new offensive coordinator?

Jim: Some EWU fans might argue that to be the best, you have to beat Montana. For what it's worth, Vernon Adams was 4-0 vs. the Griz. Big celebrations in Missoula when he transferred to Oregon.

Guest1850 (guest): Oh, and there can never be enough EWU stories!!!

Guest2785 (guest): Will this team get to a 750 yd game, 1000?

Jim: 750? Perhaps. But you need good weather and a lousy opponent.

GoEags (guest): Thanks for all the great coverage both online and in print. Anything scare you about MSU?

Jim: The Bobcats are 2-5 overall and 0-4 in the Big Sky, so this should be a win for EWU. However, their front seven is better than average.

GoEags88: Random rumor time: have your heard anything on the WAC revival? There was an article in the Missoulian last week I believe.

Jim: Here's the story:http://missoulian.com/sports/college/montana/haslam-montana-has-not-had-discussions-about-joining-revived-wac/article_d4fc00b1-f787-5785-824f-c9d1cb90b6be.html

Jim: The upshot is that Idaho is probably still looking at a way to stay FBS, perhaps by bringing UM, MSU and others into a revived WAC. That's unlikely,but stranger things have happened.

Jim: The tough part is that EWU would probably be left behind in such a move. Some Eagle fans are already worried,since the stadium upgrade plans have been treading water for 4 1/2 years.

GoEags (guest): That is just weird stuff, and I don't see that happening at all! Idaho's last gasp at BCS. We'll see.

Guest8461 (guest): Remember D Coordinator is Gregorak? He is a great D coach and the Bob Kitties will be better going forward

Jim: I'm sure they will, but this is a rebuilding year in Bozeman.

Guest2785 (guest): Will the paper be sending you to Cal Poly?

Jim: Unlikely. Much as I'd love to be in SoCal in November, that's a 6:30 p.m. kickoff followed by a charter flight home. Not my decision, but I expect to monitor from home.

Guest8461 (guest): The President of EWU is not a leader and does not have athletics as a priority. It is depressing since we have made such great strides the past few years in ALL sports.

Jim: Please expound on that, 8461

Guest2785 (guest): After two really great Pres. we are spoiled.

Guest8461 (guest): From first-hand sources, she will not fight for athletics, stadium project is back to stage 1.

Jim: The major issue is money. Regardless of who's in charge, where will it come from?

Guest8461 (guest): Money is the issue, agreed, but leadership from the top, prioritization from the top is vital. She is not willing to stand with athletics. Time for an uprising. haha. When you see her in the stands ask, confront. I know others that have.

Jim: Confront???

Guest8461 (guest): Too strong? Sorry.

Guest1850 (guest): I want a new stadium as much as the next EWU fan... but as a new president I have a hunch she has other more pressing items to resolve given her short stint thus far?

Jim: Actually, she's in her third fall, so that's not the issue.Is Cullinan against athletics? I don't know, but she has traveled to several road games in the last two-plus seasons.

Guest8461 (guest): New stadium is out of the questions. We need upgrades, Phase 1 if you will.

Jim: Is anyone worried that EWU will get left behind by an Idaho-led conspiracy?

GoEags (guest): As for the stadium, I am very concerned it never gets done. That will eventually catch up to us in recruiting and fan support.

Jim: Quite possibly. Some fans are quite worried about this.

Guest2785 (guest): Coach has not brought coach Taylor to Monday Coaches show, Have you had much contact with him and what's your thoughts?

Jim: Great guy, very innovative from what I've seen. Quite friendly too.

GoEags (guest): After watching the Bobcats last week, this should be a win.

Jim: Yes, and on paper, it shouldn't be close. On paper, that is.

Jim: So how much are the Bobcats missing QB Dakota Prukop, who transferred to Oregon this year?

Guest1850 (guest): I'd have to think quite a bit. He was no VA but it's gotta be tough to lose a QB on such short notice when you likely planned on him being there another year.

KHB_GoEags: Jim, have you seen UND play yet? It's unbelievable to see teams like Weber State in the top 3 and UND leading the Big Sky.

Jim: And since EWU misses both teams in the regular season, better prepare to see one of them in a second-round playoff game Dec. 3 in Cheney!

Guest1850 (guest): KHB, the Big Sky is a mess scheduling wise...EWU loses to UM and those two teams could finish second to UND if they win out. Both are better teams than UND.

Jim: UND barely beat Montana State, 17-15.

Guest2785 (guest): I sold my 4 extra tickets for the Montana game for twice the face amount to Eastern fans not Grizs. It is so great after all these years. I use to give them away to try and get more fans to our games.

KHB_GoEags: And SUU missed both EWU and Montana last year, right?

Jim: Yes.

Jim: By the way, KHB, the Big Sky will move to a nine-game conference schedule when Idaho joins in 2018.

Guest8461 (guest): Very concerned!! I also believe it reflects the university commitment to coaches

GoEags (guest): I am disappointed about the nine-game BSC schedule. I like the out of conference games. That will leave us with one FBS and one other game. Although scheduling gets easier, so I get it.

KHB_GoEags: Do you think they will ever break of the Big Sky into maybe, a North and South?

Jim: Perhaps, but we're running out of time. Five minutes left before I have to get back to "work." (Yeah, I get paid to do this). Let's hear some score predictions.

GoEags (guest): Eags 52 Cats 21

Jim: I say 45-21 for Eastern.

KHB_GoEags: 56-29, Go Eags!!

Guest8461 (guest): 48-17 Eags.Thanks Jim. Looking forward to whatever you are working on

Jim: Thanks. Tomorrow's feature will be a "twin bill," so to speak!

KHB_GoEags: Did Simba get a medical red shirt?

Guest8461 (guest): Websters by chance?

Jim: Yes to Websters, but Simba still hopes to play in the postseason.

Guest8461 (guest): Any Watch parties, anyone?

Jim: Thanks, everyone! Let's do it again next week - invite your Griz friends!




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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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