As a first-year transfer from the University of Washington, Demitrius Bronson is still in the process of familiarizing himself with the way Eastern Washington University’s football program does things.
From EWU’s playbook to its ramped-up pace of play, it’s all new to the 5-foot-10, 225-pound sophomore running back, who lettered as a true freshman at UW in 2009, but didn’t play last fall.
“It’s been different,” Bronson admitted, when asked about his first two spring practices as an Eagle prior to Tuesday’s first full workout in pads, “especially the hurry-up offense. I’ve never been on a team that was no-huddle, so it’s been a big change of pace. But I like it, and I’m trying to pick it up as quickly as I can.”
Bronson, a 2008 graduate of Kentwood High, where he rushed for 3,819 yards, was recruited by EWU and made a visit to Cheney before deciding to sign with the Huskies. And while Bronson continues to learn about Eastern, Eagles coach Beau Baldwin knows plenty about him.
“Having a chance to pick up a guy we really liked out of high school is always a good thing,” Baldwin said in reference to Bronson, who will battle senior Darriell Beaumonte and sophomore Mario Brown for the starting running back position left vacant when Taiwan Jones decided to give up his final year of eligibility and declare for the NFL Draft shortly after Eastern claimed its first NCAA Division I national championship with a 20-19 win over Delaware in the finals of the FCS playoffs in Frisco, Tex., back on Jan. 7.
“We don’t take a lot of transfers – probably less than anybody else in the Big Sky, if you were to go back and count. But when we do, it’s almost always a guy we have some familiarity with and developed a relationship with in high school.”
When asked about Bronson’s running style, Baldwin compared it to that of Brown, a 5-9, 175-pounder, who started three games – including the Eagles’ 20-19 win over Delaware in the FCS title game – when Jones was injured last fall.
“Demitrius is carrying a little bit more weight,” Baldwin added, “but his style is such that he brings a little bit of everything. I wouldn’t label him as a certain type of back, because in just two days I’ve seen a lot off different things from him.
“I’ve seen a good burst when he’s getting out and getting to the edge; at 225 pounds he has good power behind him, and out of the backfield, he’s got good hands. He’s a great addition to our team.”
And no one agrees with that assessment more than quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell, who transferred in from Southern Methodist last fall, won the starting job and spearheaded Eastern’s unlikely drive to a title.
“He and Mario are going to be a nice one-two punch,” Mitchell said. “I got to see one of Demitrius’ runs the other day where there was a hole that was, maybe, a foot wide. But he turned his body, jumped through it, juked a linebacker and took off down the sideline.
“And if he can do that on Day Two, not knowing the plays yet, what’s he going to be like when he learns where to run?”