Eastern Washington University head football coach Beau Baldwin rested most of his veteran starters to get a good look at backups as the Eagles concluded their first week of preseason practices Saturday with a 54-play scrimmage at Gonzaga Prep.
The Eagles will also scrimmage Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Woodward Field in Cheney before opening their season at home Sept. 5 against Western Oregon
“We’re not trying to win two scrimmages here,” Baldwin said in an EWU news release. “We want to get better and we don’t want to be sloppy, but at the same time we’re not concerned about winning a scrimmage. What we do want is our players to execute better than we did today.”
Eastern’s offense had 203 yards of total offense, but aside from a 51-yard pass play from freshman redshirt quarterback Jeff Minnerly to senior tight end Nate Overbay, the defense dominated much of the scrimmage.
Sophomore linebacker Bobby Gentry had two interceptions, including one he returned 55 yards for the only touchdown of the day.
“In my opinion, we were sloppy on offense but our defense was really sound,” Baldwin said.
Among the players who did not play were senior starting quarterback Matt Nichols. Six offense starters did not play, as well as four projected starters on defense.
“Most of the No. 1s who had time off were players who have played a lot of football for us,” Baldwin said.
Thus, Baldwin got a good look at the two quarterbacks battling for the backup job – Minnerly and fellow freshman redshirt Scott Burgett – as well as his first looks at Bakersfield College transfer Nick Gauthier and true freshman Anthony Vitto.
Minnerly, a 2008 graduate of Ferris High School, completed 2 of 5 passes for 59 yards and had two rushes for 9 yards. Burgett was 2 of 6 for 9 yards, Gauthier was 6 of 10 for 52 yards and two interceptions, and Vitto was 1 of 5 for 8 yards.
Freshman redshirt linebacker Tyler Washburn led the defense with five tackles.